Rural West going to the dogs.

Rural West going to the dogs. WESTERN ROUNDUP. High Country News. By Troy Anderson. Note that this is a partial article. You need a subscription to High Country News to read it all.

This article is a useful corrective for those who can only worry about wolves, cougars and bears, although I don’t particularly like the descriptions because only again a dead animal doesn’t look so good regardless how it died.





  1. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    I lived in Big Bear lake CA , that is just above Lucerne Valley. I can tell you for sure those dogs were left by someone, Lucerne Valley is the home of Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, but it is also one of the worst towns for drug use and abuse. It is sad those dogs have to live that way due to humans not taking care of them properly. There is not much wildlife left in those areas, so it is sad for them too…I am sure sooner or later the WLS will destroy those dogs, and sadly they should…to bad the folks that turned them out could not be left alone in the desert for a few days with nothing!!

  2. Linda Hunter Avatar

    “Dogs communicate with one another via chemical cues, body language and vocalizations.
    Domestic dogs, particularly in undeveloped countries, are one of the primary vectors of rabies. They are also carriers and transmitters of viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases affecting humans.
    In spite of their long association with humans, domestic and feral dog populations are not well studied, with the exception of the Austalian dingo.
    There is an average of 1-3 million reports of dogs attacking humans each year in the United States.”

    This information came from a Seaworld site on animals . When societies remove natural predators and embrace domestic animals the outcome could not be a pretty picture and despite our empathy for individual animals, this whole situation could become out of hand very quickly. Where I live in summer many young active people come to recreate and each car seems to have at least one dog with various social issues due to living a confined life. It is not such a stretch of the imagination to picture more than a few of them let go in the wilderness to fend for themselves when people’s life styles change. Everything we value in the natural world would not be the same.

  3. Mike Avatar

    This is a people problem.

    Once again there’s simply too many people,which translates into more dog ownership and releasing of pets.

    The correct title of the article should be:

    ” Rural west going to the humans”.

  4. Ryan Avatar

    There is another reason to carry a gun in the woods. As distasteful as it may sound a well placed round will put both the dog out of its misery and save wildlife. Same goes for feral cats.

  5. JB Avatar

    Ryan said: “…a well placed round will put both the dog out of its misery and save wildlife.”

    I don’t disagree, but in this scenario the dog(s) pay the price for the owner’s lack of responsibility; moreover, we would perpetuate the puppy-mill industry by quietly removing unwanted pets. You also run the risk of killing a dog that has escaped through no fault of the owner. For example, my mother-in-law has a German shepherd that learned it can dig under the 6′ electric fence to take nightly strolls. She has since found a fix (kennel at night), but had someone gone in with guns blazing the first time she escaped they would’ve killed the pet of a woman who is exceptionally responsible.

  6. Ryan Avatar

    Obiviously some thought has to be put into it. That being said I see a dog running wildlife in the woods (away from civilization) its life expatancy goes down significantly. The thousands of fawns, wild birds, calves and other wildlife that are killed each and every year by feral or released pets could care less about the puppy mill industry. There will always be stupid people, unfortunately there is no law against it. Its sad, and I take no joy in removing such animals, but it is for the greater good.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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