I am not going to put any names on here and I know that many people who may read this post will be angered and completely disagree with my view of the world and what I write, but I feel it is important to write this post and try to bring some perspective, objectivity and human kindness to everyone…..
The FB post was from someone who had found a loose Karakachan (known for being aggressive) cross breed dog in her private property, and it was killing her livestock. The dog had been killing other village people’s livestock too.
Now this dog was not a stray as such, it has an owner, but he has gone away for a few months and simply left the dog behind to roam loose.
Apparently this dog has killed livestock in the past while its owner has been at home too, so this is not simply a dog that is hungry and needs food by the sound of it, although of course, being left alone it will be hungry and need food and killing livestock is a good way for the dog to get it’s food.
The question in the FB group was asking if someone could tell her how to get a stray picked up or, if necessary, shot. They were not wanting the dog to be shot and hoped that would not be the outcome but they needed help and fast!
Now before you start to put your hands on your face and say – “OMG that is disgusting, how could anyone want to shoot a poor dog!” please keep reading and maybe consider opening your mind a little!
If this hadn’t been a dog, if it had been a rat or a fox or other predator – would you be saying or thinking that it was awful someone wanted to get rid of it right now? This dog was the equivalent of any predatory animal, it was killing livestock in the village and for those who are not aware, livestock can make the difference to some people here in Bulgaria, between life and death – it is their food, it may be their only source of food and potentially only source and give them a small income stream too.
The person asking the question also said that they would not approach the dog, as they didn’t know if it was dangerous to people or not. (These dogs are big dogs!)
Someone kindly shared that a stray dog killing livestock, is the responsibility of the local Kmet (major) and it was also shared that they are legally supposed to trap the dog and not shoot it without trying to catch it.. But there were also concerns that yes, if the Kmet was involved, that is exactly what would happen to this dog who was wandering loose on the streets of the village and attacking, and killing peoples livestock – it would be shot!
I know to many dog lovers and those who rescue dogs (and cats) here in Bulgaria, this will sound like a very bad decision and create a range of anger and upset too.
What happened as well as people expressing their concern for the person whose livestock was being killed, was that some of the people who rescue and help dogs here in Bulgaria, came together on the post to try to find a way to collect the animal. Someone offered to take it in if it could be transported to her and lots of people offered to help with the costs of transporting, but no-one was close to where the dog was. Someone offered to make the trip which would have been a 1000km round trip, and someone else was found slightly closer, but no-one closer seemed to be available to help.
There were lots of suggestions on how to catch and transport the dog too – tranquilisers included in case it was dangerous….. A figure of 180 leva was suggested as an amount that would be needed to collect the dog and people were asked if they could help contribute to this.
Now while this is wonderful and so many people wanted to help them – is it practical to pay 180 lev – take hours of time and go to collect a dog that was killing villagers livestock and would more than likely be killing more while the conversation on Facebook was happening and people were suggesting collecting it “sometime”? (No-one at this stage had been able to say – No problems, I can do it right now)….
Is it practical or sensible to expect the owners of livestock (food and potentially income) to wait one/two or maybe more days for this to be arranged and have no birds/ducks/geese left by the time people had been able to make the arrangements and someone had come to catch and take away the dog?
Is it practical or sensible to offer to collect a dog that you actually do not know if it is dangerous, if it has an in grained blood thirst,or if it could hurt people and children?
Another person joined the conversation on Fb and suggested that all that time, effort and money could actually be spent helping many more stray dogs that have not killed, that are young and in dire need of shelter, food, vaccinations and spaying, instead of one dog that was already known to be killing livestock…… Was that a sensible suggestion or thought?
You may be saying yes to the above questions, you may be saying no ……… I’m not saying either – I am simply writing this article to hopefully give people an objective view and some alternative options to consider and think about.
So, on with the story……. After about an hour from the time the question was originally posted – the poster advised everyone that the Kmet had been informed and would be taking responsibility for dealing with the loose dog.
Straight away people started to get nasty with the poster – they knew that the Kmet being involved could signal that the end result would be that the dog would be shot…… They were horrified and disgusted, not at the owner of the dog that had left it to go away for several months, but at the person who was suffering because of this dog and also started to verbally attack them online.
They also started to verbally attack the other person who had dared to ask what they would do in the same situation or if the 180 lev and peoples time would be better spent helping more animals…
Sadly no-one was able to see another side, no-one was able to consider the people who were being affected by this loose animal. No-one seemed to be taking into consideration the people who did not have the money to go and buy food from the supermarkets and that they needed a fast solution to a predator eating their food source….
The posts was deleted at this stage as the nastiness from those who wanted to rescue the dog was not pleasant to see and it was a group that does not allow judgement on others or personal attacks……
Things didn’t though end there – those who disagreed with the original posters decision – took up their own mini hate campaign on FB and incited many more people to be disgusted, feel hatred towards others and to call people “murderers” for making those decisions that had been made and also spared no time in verbally attacking those who had attempted to clarify the seriousness of the situation and make alternative suggestions to the people wanting to find a way to go and catch the dog.
Now, I don’t know what you are thinking right now – or which way your mind is looking, but to me – I like to try and see all sides of something and my final questions are:
If something was killing your food source – would you wait and sit back and let others take the time to help or would you want to act immediately in whatever way you could?
If people are meat eaters and buying their food from the supermarkets where we know that the animals we are buying have lived their lives in hellish conditions, in cages, and worse – is there not some hypocrisy somewhere when you start to attack someone and call them a murderer because they may have to have a dog killed to protect free range food sources from being destroyed?
Is the person who keeps free range food sources, gives animals a wonderful life while they are alive, really a murderer for wanting to protect those animals against a predator?
Would it have been better to wait and leave the predator dog alone until the villagers realised their livestock was diminishing through this animal and they started to put down poison that would definitely have given the dog a slow and painful death – and at the same time potentially killed other dogs, cats and wildlife?
Should we stop looking at this from the side of UK doggy owners, and open our minds to try and understand true rural life in Bulgaria?
I don’t know the answers, but what I do know is that watching people judging someone for their actions that they took to protect themselves and their food source was awful. To see people being so unkind, unobjective and verbally attacking other human beings, people not able to take a step back and look at the situation from all angles, but instead jump in and name call in such a terrible way – was in my mind cruel and so not the way to make a difference in our world …….