is a writer for the popular pup blog, Dogster
. She recently published an editorial piece describing the fate of dogs dumped in the rural Texas community where she lives. The reality she shared is heartbreaking, but it's something that we all need to be aware of. Unless they are lucky enough to encounter a kind soul like Seger, most dogs abandoned to "live in the country" do not have the bucolic fate owners convince themselves they are providing.
There are many reasons dog owners feel that they can no longer care for their pets. Whether it is a financial, behavioral, or housing situation; the fact of the matter is, abandonment is never the answer. Some people cannot bear the thought of their dog ending up on "death row" at a local shelter. By simply releasing them in a rural area, they can convince themselves that their pup has a better chance of survival.
According to Lisa Seger, they are dead wrong. The majority of the dogs left to wander helplessly throughout the sprawling Texas farms in her neck of the woods will either be shot, hit by a car, or face starvation. The livelihood of professional farmers depends upon the well being of their livestock, and hungry stray dogs pose a major threat. Even well intentioned land owners who contact their local police for help are usually advised to simply shoot the nuisance dog.
Seger describes those dogs put down with a single shot as the lucky ones. Some dogs may survive the wound only to suffer and die later from infection, predation by a larger animal, or starvation. Locals call the practice of eliminating stray dogs with their guns "SSS" - Shoot, Shovel, and Shut Up. It is surely not something that any of these hard working citizens enjoy. Dumping unwanted pets on their land puts them in a terribly unfair position.
Even worse than death by gunshot, some dogs are poisoned with antifreeze or rat poison - both of which cause slow, excruciating deaths. I won't describe what either substance does to the body, but those who are interested are welcome to look it up. Suffice it to say, these types of poison cause unimaginable pain and suffering before death. Seger sums up the abandoned dog issue succinctly in her post:
There are myriad horrible ways to die in the country. And the most likely outcome for any dumped dog is that he will die. You need to know this. Your dog is not going to happily live on a farm.
Seger and her family have taken in their fair share of these dumped dogs, but they are the minority. She warns not to blindly convince yourself that your dog will be the exception to the rule. It doesn't matter how adorable and friendly your pup is, there are harsh truths that must be faced. Fear and hunger can change any good dog into a potential problem for farmers. Also, domesticated dogs far removed from their ancestors, they simply are not designed to survive in harsh environments.
If you are facing the gut wrenching decision of giving up your dog, please do not consider abandonment as an option. Seger recommends placing the pup with friends or family as the ideal resolution. If this is not possible, try researching rescue groups that specialize in your dog's breed. Most states have several groups dedicated to re-homing specific breed mixes.
Online ads can be risky, but could result in a successful placement if you do your homework. Never place your pet with anyone
without checking references and properly vetting them first.
Many shelters have dedicated themselves to going "No Kill", or will attempt to place adoptable pets with fosters or rescue groups before resorting to euthanasia. Even shelters that do euthanize after a certain period are a more humane option than dumping a dog off to fend for itself in the country. Don't let your pet face this terrifying and brutal fate.
For more advice and resources on re-homing visit humanesociety.org
H/T to dogster.com
Featured Image via @TheJuiceryFamilyFarm/Instagram