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Not a dog’s chance with bird raiders

No sooner than RSPCA clinic manager Dr William Huey was singing the

praises of a more caring and animal-loving Barbadian people, we would find

ourselves haplessly bemoaning the terrorizing of a St George farm by a pack of

Bajan canines. Reports referred to them as wild dogs. But were they?

Savage and ferocious they were; but they are hardly undomesticated. They

are somewhere right now lazing around their various owners’ homes or their

environs, separate and segregated, probably ill-watered and unfed, awaiting the

call to the next possible group pre-dawn feast.

Sadly, no dog owner will claim responsibility for the carnage inflicted last

weekend upon the turkey stock of the owners of Golden Ridge Farm: 130

of the birds slaughtered; 40 more bitten up and left to suffer a slow and

torturous death.

To farm owners Adrienne Norton and Bill Tempro, this represents $25,000

plus in losses –– coming on the heels of a December raid of 500 other turkeys

by truck-driving thieves, costing them another $40,000. By compromising the

security which the farm’s barbed wire fencing provided, the brazen robbers

seemingly facilitated the easy entry of the marauding dogs.

It would be reasonable to suggest then that this canine pack goes on a

regular foray, seeking out what available stock it might devour.

And, while we have no compunction insisting that the farm bandits, pirates

and thugs –– euphemistically referred to as predial larcenists –– ought to be

pursued and made to feel the full weight of the law, we plead for some mercy

for these dumb animals, almost certainly left to fend for themselves to fight for

survival. Their masters and mistresses will get no commensurate compassion

from us.

Indeed, our police ought to go after the owners of these ravaging dogs

as vigorously as they would the actual two-footed farm looters. After all, Ms

Norton and Mr Tempro are deserving of compensation; at least, of seeing

justice done.

According to the Animal Control Centre, and the supporting Royal Society

for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there are hardly any stray dogs

around these days –– more a tribute to the Control Centre’s work than Dr

Huey’s belief of a more animal-loving Bajan people –– and thus where dogs

reside, or spend time these days ought to be more easily sniffed out.

Another concern has to be what these canine raiders will do when their

wee-hour foraging turns up nothing. Will they attack the health-concious trying

to keep fit on our otherwise relatively safe roadways?

It is not unknown for joggers, or runners, or cyclists to be suddenly rushed

at by a whippersnapper or two –– even by a loose aggressive dog on the odd

occasion –– but there is not the familiar picture of dog packs assaulting health

freaks. And we would much prefer that it remain that way.

Too gruesome and tragic are the circumstances we learn of in places like

the United States where young and old joggers are from time to mauled to

death by attacking groups of dogs.

Obviously, the surest way of preventing any such attack is for dog owners

to train their animals not to do it in the first place –– to fellow animal or

human being; to always make sure their dogs are in a secure yard or inside the

house; and as importantly, or even more so, that they are appropriately fed

and properly watered.

People who are not sufficiently responsible to do this ought to be barred

from keeping dogs, and should suffer a restraining order forbidding them from

being within a ten-foot radius of any canine –– the penalty for the breaching

of which would be one month’s acclimatization to dogs and dog care at the

kennels of the Animal Control Centre or at the RSPCA.

Failure of this compliance then ought to be met with three months’ study in

animal care and dog history at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds.

The hyperbolical scenario is to drive home the point that we have not

necessarily become a more animal-caring society because there are hardly any

stray dogs in the streets of The City or in our fish markets. These unfortunate

creatures have almost all been euthanized.

In these tougher times when some Barbadians are complaining about the

inability to feed themselves and their children well, dogs are going to be at the

very bottom of their care chain.

In such cases, people having not the wherewithal to properly care for their

canines should give up ownership of them –– for their very own good, that of

the dogs, that of hard-working farmers like Adrienne Norton and Bill Tempro,

and that of the poor jogger whose innocent motion might just trigger again

that prey drive in a dog frustrated by having failed to get at a turkey gut –– or

a chicken neck

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