In the News News Articles


Feral dogs issues are in constant discussion across the globe.  Here are a few articles and other information we have collected. 

Feral Pack of Dogs Terrorize Livestock in Washington State

A pack of dogs has killed about 100 animals in the past three months while eluding law enforcement and volunteers in northeastern Washington state.

The killings are happening in a wide area of mountains and valleys west of Deer Park, a small town about 40 miles north of Spokane, authorities said.

"Trying to figure out where they are going to hit is next to impossible," Stevens County Undersheriff Lavonne Webb said Thursday. "Nobody is claiming ownership of any animals involved in the pack."

In their most recent attack, the dogs killed a 350-pound llama earlier this week. They've also killed goats and other farm animals.

So far, no humans have been attacked. But authorities are warning residents to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their families and animals because the dogs appear to be killing for fun rather than food.

"We have this pack that is out there killing for the sake of killing," Webb said in a telephone interview from Colville. "What is going to happen if they come across a small child?"

Officers have tried to track the pack but had little success because the dogs seem to hunker down during the day and move only at night, Webb said.

"We've only had one or two sightings during daytime hours," she said.

Webb added she has worked for the sheriff's office since the 1970s and not encountered a similar problem before. "It's become a major issue because of the number of kills," she said

Since the end of March, there have been 15 separate attacks in the county that have killed about 100 animals, Webb said. The dogs killed a number of goats last week and the llama on Tuesday night.

One resident managed to take some photographs of the pack, and it seemed to include four or five large dogs. It's not clear if the dogs are wild or if some or all go home to owners during the day, Webb said. It's also not known what breed they are.

Deer Park resident Temma Davis told KXLY-TV that neighbors are worried about kids getting off school buses or riding their bikes.

"They're bloodthirsty," Davis said of the dogs. She related the experience to the 1980s Stephen King book and movie about a vicious killer dog, saying "It's like `Cujo."'

Detroit Has 50,000 Stray Dogs and Only 4 Dog Catchers

Roughly 50,000 stray dogs are roaming the city of Detroit, reports Bloomberg News today. Many of them spend their days hanging out in abandoned houses and mating like crazy. Occasionally, the dogs bite people and sometimes they eat cats (which might explain why you don't see many reports about Detroit's stray cat problem). 

The dogs roam "in packs that form around a female in heat," according to Harry Ward, Detroit's animal control director. Roughly 15,000 of them make their way into three Detroit shelters a year—that comes out 13.6 dogs per shelter per day—thanks in part to the city's four dog catchers and one dog-bite investigator. Seventy percent of these dogs are euthanized. 

While Ward says his men are overworked, Detroit's stray problem was put into sharp perspective in July when the city failed to pay the commercial service that transports euthanized dogs from the shelter. As a result, writes Bloomberg's Chris Christoff, "The freezers were packed with carcasses, and pens were full of live animals until the bill was paid."

Mail carriers have reported being attacked (by "swarms" of chihuahuas), and the city reported 903 dog bites last year. Yet according to Ward, these dogs aren't really feral, just unsupervised. That's illegal, but animal rights activists in the city don't expect that to change. “With the city being bankrupt," one person told Christoff, "who’s going to do anything about it?”

U.S. Facing Feral-Dog Crisis

Packs of wild dogs roam America's city streets and backcountry roads. Lingering on the edge of domestication, they live in dilapidated buildings, old cars, and sewers— anywhere that will shelter them from summer's blistering heat or winter's bitter cold.

Some are abandoned pets; others were born on the streets. In order to survive, these social creatures form packs, scavenging garbage or killing livestock in teams.

 In rural communities, wild dogs attack livestock, angering farmers who commonly shoot them. A survey by the National Agricultural Statistics Service in 1999 found that feral dogs were partly responsible for killing cows, sheep, and goats worth about U.S. 37 million dollars.

Farms aren't the only place where these animals may be found. Low-income, high-crime neighborhoods in cities like Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, are being overrun by tens of thousands of unwanted dogs, says Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue in St. Louis, a nonprofit organization that saves street dogs.

"The problem is only going to get worse," he said. "Animal control agencies and humane societies don't want to deal with it. It's just too overwhelming."

The problem started in the 1980s, Grim said, springing from a combination of increased dog fighting, dogs being bred for aggressiveness, and reduced animal control. Compounding the problem, he said, is that America's poorest neighborhoods do not have veterinarians or animal shelters.

In Detroit, packs of free-roaming dogs have posed such a danger that a postal service spokesman said they considered stopping mail delivery to some areas last year because carriers were "constantly being bitten" or injured eluding vicious animals.

In St. Louis, a 10-year-old boy was attacked and killed two years ago by a pack of stray dogs. Police Chief Ron Henderson told the St. Louis Post Dispatch: "They were feeding off this kid. I've seen over 1,500 bodies but I've never, never seen anything like this. Nobody has."

And it's not just a problem in the United States—it's worldwide.

According to some estimates, the current world population of domestic dogs may be as high as 500 million, of which a substantial, although unknown, proportion is free-roaming.

There have been news reports of feral dogs causing havoc in Australia, India, Russia, Taiwan, and Turkey.

In Greece, more than U.S. one million dollars is reportedly being spent on rounding up, sterilizing, and vaccinating thousands of street dogs in Athens before the 2004 Olympic games.

Most towns and cities across America have strong animal-control programs and veterinary services that keep the pet population in check, protecting citizens. But not all communities have that luxury.

The Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where 23,000 people live, is one of the poorest counties in the nation.

 The animal population on the reservation is at crisis levels. An estimated 4,000 dogs, covered with mange and ticks, roam the land and are sometimes so hungry they resort to cannibalizing other dogs.

The reservation does not have a veterinary hospital, and each week Indian health officials investigate an average of two dog bite incidents, often involving children.

"The animals need to be healthy in order to have a healthy community," said Karen Santos, Companion Animals Project Coordination for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW.)

In July, the nonprofit organization, along with other animal welfare groups, held a five-day clinic on the reservation, spaying and neutering 980 cats and dogs.

"Fixing the animals makes them less aggressive," explained Santos. This in turn, she added, will help reduce the extraordinarily high number of bites that occur on the reservation.

The clinic's staff also provided treatment for mange and vaccinations.

The program is the first time a humane approach to control the number of pets on the reservation has been carried out. A shoot-and-kill policy, she said, was previously in place.

Another clinic is being planned for May.

The IFAW also has sterilization programs in Turkey, Russia, the Indonesian island of Bali, and the Navajo Nation in Arizona—all aimed at reducing feral dog populations.

In St. Louis, Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue, is out on the streets everyday feeding 50 or more mutts.

If these wild dogs don't die of sheer starvation, he said, diseases such as parvovirus, heartworm, or intestinal parasites usually kill them. Their average life span is one to two years.

Many of the animals he sees were once "bait dogs"—smaller, passive animals used to train fighting dogs. Great Dane puppies are commonly used, he said, and wire is twisted around their legs to hold them down, so they can't run while being mauled during training sessions.

"If they live, they are just discarded onto the streets," said Grim. The animals are recognizable by their missing limbs, and scars from the brutal attacks.

Since starting in 1991, Grim is credited with saving 5,000 feral dogs, all of which—through months of gentle, loving care—have been turned into house pets and adopted by new families. Some have even gone on to become therapy animals, bringing joy to people in hospitals and nursing homes.

A book on his rescue triumphs and struggles was published this year, entitled The Man Who Talks To Dogs (St. Martin's Press, Melinda Roth.)

In between interviews and speaking engagements, Grim has found time to start a new program, called Operation East Side, that offers free spaying and neutering and medical care for dogs in low-income areas of St. Louis. He hopes to make it a model program for other cities to follow.

"The involvement of all of us in animal welfare is essential to solving this problem," said Grim. "Through sterilization and rehabilitation, the feral dog problem can be contained but first we must acknowledge its existence."

News Source: National Geographic

Wild about dog issues

Independent candidate for Upper Hunter Lee Watts is supporting calls from local farmers to intensify control measures on increasing local wild dog populations, which are devastating stock.

Mrs Watts said it was hard enough that farmers were shouldering a drought, but to hear their stories about finding so many of their animals barely alive and in pain was heartbreaking.

“Farmers are reporting 20 sheep being taken in one night, dogs hunting in packs with some weighing as much as 30 and 40 kilograms and even calves and foals are falling victim to them,” she said.

“It is happening across the electorate, but people near areas with National Parks seem to be worst hit and it’s an extra strain they just don’t need.

“They are already aerial baiting and ground baiting, but farmers say they need more and the current control plans need to incorporate shooters and trappers to get the best results and start to control the problem.

“The cost of the government hiring a few full-time local shooters and trappers in the Upper Hunter electorate is negligible compared to the financial costs being suffered across the region.

Brian Hunt is an 80-year-old sheep farmer from Murrurundi.

His property has been in the family since 1868.

Mr Hunt admits he’s never seen the problem so bad.

“Throughout my family’s time on the farm, you could count on one hand the number of wild dogs that had been on the place in all that time, but now it is a huge problem that’s spreading to farms where they have never had wild dogs before,” he said.

“I had 20 sheep taken in just one night and the dogs are coming from the [National] Parks.

“The mental affect it has on you when you hear your own dogs in the middle of the night; you sit bolt upright in bed.

“All sheep farmers pay a levy for the grasshopper plague which continues to work well, so a levy for wild dogs might be something to be to look at.”

Mrs Watts said it was essential everyone tackled the problem.

“National Parks need to be doing more, which is often where the difficulty is coming from,” she said.

“The NSW Government needs to pay a few full-time shooters for this area and the industry body needs to listen to calls from farmers to have a wild dog levy.

“Farmers are doing all they can; using alpacas and other animals which they say are good with foxes, but they are no protection from a pack of wild dogs and it’s a worry to think what these dogs are doing to native animals in the parks.”

Arizona Town Overrun By Packs of Wild Roving Chihuahuas

Tiny yappy dogs have taken over the streets of a small town in Arizona, chasing young children while their parents apparently cower inside, frantically redialing 311 — Maryvale Animal Control received more than 6,000 calls in the last year alone.

According to ABC 15, the four-legged Napoleons first conquered the area's animal shelters, then turned to recruiting protection for their bone-running crew.

"Well the last time I seen six or seven Chihuahuas... and big dogs running with the Chihuahua's in a pack running every single day," Frank Garcia told Fox 10.mBut Animal Control says they've been so inundated with calls they don't have the manpower to patrol the streets. Now residents say that the Chihuahuas have won — packs of 10-15 dogs have started to chase local children to school.