Young and Feral
Young and feral more importantly saved. Meet Quinn. Donna and I first spotted Quinn, her 2 siblings and mother over a month ago. They made their home in a depilated shell of a house never been touched by people. Soon the mom abandoned her pups as they got older and they were left to fend alone.
Quinn would have been a tough rescue but being only 3-4 months old she was found injured by Donna. Now safe with us she will get TLC and be a wonderful dog. Here is some information on feral dogs that should be informative:
Are you aware of the enormous feral dog problem? This country has experienced an explosion in the number of dogs that are abandoned by their owners and exponential rise in feral dogs – dogs that are born, live, and die on the streets, never having been socialized to humans. The epidemic is recent - since the 1980s - borne of a lethal combination of vastly increased dog fighting, dogs bred for aggressiveness, and reduced animal control. It is not a local problem…it is a national tragedy.
Identifying the problem
Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, New York, Baltimore, Houston, Indianapolis, Santa Fe, and Pittsburgh, all report "an epidemic of feral and abandoned dogs".
Since the 1980’s, the problem of breeding and training aggressive dogs has grown steadily: 40,000 Americans now take part in dog fighting.
There are an estimated 50,000 street dogs in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles County and City alone, 200,000 residents were bitten by abandoned dogs in one year. In New Orleans, estimates are placed at 40,000 stray dogs.
Says Madeline Bernstein, president of the Los Angeles SPCA: “You’ve got a situation where people complain that there are too many dogs out there, and the department complains that they don’t have enough money to pick them up, and meanwhile the number of dogs multiplies, and it just goes on and on.”
In 1999, SWAT teams of police, sheriff’s deputies, and animal control officers went out on daily sweeps of the city and county where 200,000 residents were bitten. At least 47 vicious stray dogs – of the hundreds caught every day – had to be shot in one year. In some neighborhoods, residents carried rocks and clubs to scare off the dogs.
Bait dogs make up a good portion of urban stray populations. They are the smaller and weaker animals used to train fighting dogs.
Feral dogs are so mistreated that they defecate uncontrollably at the touch of a human hand. Many are the victims of shootings.
Feral dog expert Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue, says: "We can’t say feral dogs are mean because it isn't true. What makes street dogs aggressive enough to attack and kill is that they were previously owned by people who purposefully mistreated them to heighten their fight instinct. When these powerful urban breeds get discarded they join the packs of ferals. I know that is the case. True feral dogs usually run away from people...."
Behavior and physical traits of the feral dog
· Feral dogs are the untouchables; they are the ones who "belong" to no one. They are the hold-outs, the animals under-funded pounds can't catch and overburdened humane shelters can't deal with. They colonize whatever neighborhoods afford them the best shelter, the most food and the least amount of contact with human beings. They exist, like genetic castaways, in the evolutionary no-man's-land between domesticity and wildness. They are completely, utterly, alone.
· Dr. Michael Fox, once a psychologist at Washington University, and now a Senior Fellow of Bioethics for the Humane Society of America, studied a small pack of feral dogs in North St. Louis over the course of one summer. Not once did he see them catch a squirrel or a rat or a cat, despite all their chasing. Domestication and selective breeding are the culprits. These dogs do not, Fox concluded, know how to survive as wild animals anymore.
· Bait dogs make up an alarming portion of the urban stray population. These are smaller, weaker animals used to train the fighters. They are recognizable by their missing limbs, by their numerous scars from the attacks and the wires used to tie them down, and by their conditioned fear of humans and other dogs. These injured dogs are discarded as losers and leftover bait. In time, they turn into feral street dogs.
· Two years ago, researchers from the University of California discovered that the domestic dog is within only 0.2 percent of being genetically identical to the gray wolf. If it were not for the thousands of years' worth of cosmetic changes caused by humans selectively breeding animals for specific characteristics (looks, size, temperament, and behavioral traits), today’s domestic dogs would be wolves. The problem for the feral dog today on our cities’ streets, however, is that those changes eradicated the important instincts that enable wolves in the wild to survive.
· Domestic dogs are neotenic, or "forever immature", which means that even though they are genetically within the same species as wolves, adult dogs only display the physical characteristics and the brain size of very young wolf pups. When a puppy is brought into a person's home as a pet, it immediately becomes a member of the "human pack", and its only role in the human pack is to act as a subordinate -- a wolf pup - who is fed, doted upon, and generally protected from danger. This dooms feral dogs to an evolutionary purgatory where neither instinct nor selective breeding equips them for anything but professional beggary.
· Most puppies born in the wild to domestic dogs have life expectancies of an hour or less. Those “fortunate” enough to survive, will only live for a year, maybe two.
· Female relatives of the dog such as wolves and foxes, only have one breeding cycle per year, and the males have potent sperm only at that time. Domesticated dogs, however, have two or three breeding cycles every year, and the sperm of the males is potent year-round. A domestic female dog and her offspring can unleash 67,000 pups in six years' time.
· If dogs manage to live long enough to breed in the wild, successive generations lose their purebred characteristics and take on the looks of the prototype feral dog: medium-length hair, medium build, pointed ears, curled tail with a white tip.
· If a feral dog does not die of sheer starvation, there are always diseases such as parvovirus, heartworm, or intestinal parasites lining up for a turn. Many feral dogs have mange, which is caused by a parasite living in the skin. However, it is not the parasite that kills a dog; it is the loss of hair, and subsequent exposure to the elements, that does the job.
· TVT, transmissible venereal tumors, is becoming an epidemic among street dogs.
· Abuse ranges from gun shot wounds to amputated limbs - even from leghold traps.