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Stray Dogs Create Problems For Many
By Molly Kinnan
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many wild dogs and their mischievous antics have become a steady problem for rural and suburban areas.
"Animals are curious and will tend to venture off from time to time. However, keeping a watchful eye on your pet can cut back on some of the wandering," said Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, professor of veterinary medicine at Mississippi State University. "Owning a pet is a big responsibility for residents in the city and in rural areas, and pet owners need to be prepared."
A recent incident in the state occurred in Hurley where a pack of stray dogs is believed to have killed 44 goats, a calf and numerous turkeys.
"The dogs are exercising their predatory instincts," Lenarduzzi said. "Most of the time these animals travel in packs of two or three and are seeking playtime. Many times livestock are hurt as the result of the dogs playing too rough. Occasionally, the predation is done by the livestock owners' own dogs when left unattended."
The city streets have also become a common haven for stray dogs to roam.
To reduce the number of strays wandering around town, some police departments like Holly Springs have teamed up with animal control officers.
According to the South Reporter Online, tranquilizer guns have been placed in at least two Holly Springs' squad cars, and the officers will use them whenever necessary. The guns will sedate an average size dog for about 20 minutes. Once the dog is sedated, it will be taken to an animal shelter. This type of preventative action can create problems for many pet owners. Most of the roaming dogs are not strays but pets who are the victims of irresponsible pet care.
"The survival rate in the wild for a dog is not high. Many stray dogs die of starvation or heat exhaustion within the first two weeks of being in the wild. Most of these roaming dogs are healthy and have owners, but unfortunately they are not keeping track of where their pets are at all times," Lenarduzzi said.
Not properly caring for a pet could result in some costly consequences for owners.
Police in Holly Springs will also issue citations if officers can determine who owns the dogs. First offense violation of the dog leash law is $12.50 and the ceiling for repeat violators is $30.50.
One way to keep your pet from wandering and to avoid unwanted pets is to get your pet spayed or neutered.
"If your animal is spade or neutered they are less likely to have the urge to run off. Spaying and neutering your pet also provides a better alternative to the overpopulation of unwanted animals. If you do not want your dog's litter of new puppies, do not assume that dumping them in the wild is the best thing for them. Most puppies dumped in the country will starve, be killed by automobiles, or be eaten by wild animals," Lenarduzzi said.
An option that is always available for individuals with unwanted animals is the Humane Society which accepts strays and provides them with food and shelter for as long as possible.
Contact: Dr. Thomas Lenarduzzi, (662) 325-1438