Help! my dog is killing cats
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  1. #1
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    Help! my dog is killing cats

    Some background: I have a 6 yr old Pyr that we adopted when he was 1. He's a great dog. I have 3 boys ages 7, 5, and 2 and he's never shown any aggression toward them, only patience. He's been known to block adults who are chasing the kids around the yard, but otherwise he doesn't play with them. He's lazy and likes to just lay around the yard or house and sleep or watch. We live on about 3 acres and the backyard is probably 1.5 acres and fenced in. When we moved here about 3 years ago I told our neighbor that he didn't like cats but she told me that she had seen him "playing" with her cats. She comes to the fence and pets our dog frequently and walks her dog up the fence so the dogs can "play with each other". Our neighbor also has cats and lets them roam all the time. She brings abandoned cats home if she sees any on the side of the road.
    About a year and a half ago, we adopted a 1.5 yr old jack russell mix that had been roaming local fields for no telling how long with one of his littermates. His littermate was killed by a car.
    A couple of months ago the neighbor came to the door one night and told me that the Pyr has been killing her cats. She said it's been going on for 3 months and this was the 3rd one. She wanted us to stop the dog from killing her cats. Of course, since her cats are on our property, I'm not sure how to do that and remain fair to the dogs. Today, I went on the back porch and there were the leftovers of some animal. I'm thinking that the Pyrenees is killing and the Jack Russell is eating the cats. I noticed when we got him that the dog will eat anything, I guess this is because of his time roaming around. The Pyr never did anything like this before we got the Jack Russell. I'm not really sure what to do.
    Will getting rid of the Jack Russell stop the Pyr from killing anymore? I'd hate to get rid of him, the kids absolutely adore him since he plays with them. Do dogs stop killing once they start? My main concern is can the agressiveness toward cats turn into agression toward the kids. In a way I feel badly about the cats, but I just have a hard time feeling responsible when they keep coming through the fence and the neighbor won't contain her cats. I certainly don't want to be greeted on my back porch by a carcass, so I'd like to stop the behavior if possible, but I don't want to deny the dog his lazy days outside. Anyone else ever have this problem or have any suggestions?

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    Senior Member chul3l3ies1126's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    My reaction would be to call the SPCA or animal control and complain that this woman is not keeping her "beloved" cats contained in her yard. They are coming onto your property... and your dogs are contained in your yard... what can you do? It is not your fault, and not the fault of the dogs. Their prey drive may be very high... I have met many Pyr with high prey drives, but this could also be because of no socialization with other animals as a pup. You need to make a complaint about this... the way she is keeping her cats is plain wrong, and she is blaming the cats deaths on you. You say she takes in stray cats? What makes her think she is doing any better for them by letting them roam around the neighborhood and go into other peoples yards... you have already done your job by containing your dogs in YOUR yard... she needs to do hers.

    I have known of dogs that are animal aggressive because of their prey drive, but have never seen them show any aggression towards people or their children. I really would not worry about that at all. But remember, never leave your kids unattended with your dogs, no matter how much you trust them.
    I hope you have the courage to take care of this, and I hope you find a way. You should not have to give up the Jack Russel... i'm sure it is not because he came into your household.
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    Senior Member ritabooker's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Years ago, we had one dog who would kill cats. None of our other dogs were able to catch a cat. Anyway, this dog was contained in our own yard. When I saw him chasing, I would call him off, but twice he left cat bodies in our driveway. I buried them and was sad that someone had lost a pet. We have to keep our dogs on their own property to keep them safe. Why would it be different for cats?

    We currently have 4 cats next door, which I rescued and gave to the neighbor.
    She takes good care of them, but allows them to roam. We like the fact that the cats hunt gophers and mice and rats. Abby chases them, but they are smart and know how to use the fences and trees to foil her. I hope she never kills one. We call her off chasing them whenever we are present. She has been trained to "leave it".

    It is however, her territory and dogs who do not grow up with cats frequently see them as game.

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    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    1) Dogs are predators. Hunting and killing small critters is kinda hard-wired into their brains. Just as, I'm sure, her cats kill plenty of birds, mice and other critters smaller than they are.

    2) If your neighbor doesn't want her cats killed by dogs, cars, foxes, coyotes or any of the variety of life-threatening things a loose animal is exposed to, perhaps she should keep her cats under her control - in her house or on a leash.

    As long as your dog isn't leaving your property and going to your neighbors to kill the cats, I'd tell your neighbor to keep her cats off YOUR property and if they ever harmed your dogs, you will expect her to pay the full vet bill (cat scratches and bites can be nasty wounds). If your dog is leaving your property and killing cats, then you need to keep your animals under control by either a fence or a leash.

    also: dogs know the difference between a cat and a human being. Hunting behavior does not necessarily translate to human aggression.
    Last edited by lovemygreys; 10-10-2007 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Well, cats don't stay home and once a dog tastes blood, I am sorry to have to say, it becomes a deadly game...he will wait until the next small critter comes along to kill.

    Prys should not have such a hig prey drive (as in, just killing for fun, as it sounds like this dog may be doing) as they are bred as livestock guardian dogs; one of the best, however, if they don't work as guardians they can turn into predators like any other dog...

    I am afraid there is not really much you can do for your cat killing dog; even if your neighbor keeps HER cats home, what about any other cats that may get lost? The behavior continues. It could escalate to small dogs, or little children who come into your yard to play with your kids; to you they belong there, but to him, they might not...like those cats.

    However, on a side note; Even as livestock guardians, these dogs can and will kill large (emphasis on large) predatorial animals that don't belong in with their herd (coyotes, stray dogs, wolves, even bears); they will also attack humans that don't belong in their 'herd'...keep that in mind. He may just be doing his job, in his mind; it's just that his predator is your neighbor's cats... Key thing though is that these dogs, are supposed to keep large predators at bay; but small animals that a farmer usually has along with his livestock are supposed to be safe from his jaws; most farmers have tons of barn cats, and not to mention that his sheep and goats will have little ones once or twice a year, and those are no bigger than a grown cat; so I still say your dog has a problem!
    Last edited by Love's_Sophie; 10-10-2007 at 03:01 PM.

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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    I would tell the lady if she wants her cats to be safe from your dogs, cars, wild animals she needs to keep them on her own property.

    I might also call the ASPCA and report her for letting her cats roam or catch her cats and bring them there telling them she will have to pay to get them back and that might put a stop to her letting her cats roam.

    She sounds like a rude and irresponsible cat owner.

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    Senior Member Donovan's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Quote Originally Posted by lovemygreys View Post
    1) Dogs are predators. Hunting and killing small critters is kinda hard-wired into their brains. Just as, I'm sure, her cats kill plenty of birds, mice and other critters smaller than they are.

    2) If your neighbor doesn't want her cats killed by dogs, cars, foxes, coyotes or any of the variety of life-threatening things a loose animal is exposed to, perhaps she should keep her cats under her control - in her house or on a leash.

    As long as your dog isn't leaving your property and going to your neighbors to kill the cats, I'd tell your neighbor to keep her cats off YOUR property and if they ever harmed your dogs, you will expect her to pay the full vet bill (cat scratches and bites can be nasty wounds). If your dog is leaving your property and killing cats, then you need to keep your animals under control by either a fence or a leash.

    also: dogs know the difference between a cat and a human being. Hunting behavior does not necessarily translate to human aggression.
    Great Post!

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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    I don't know for sure, but I believe my Plott hound would kill a cat if she had the opportunity. The only way she'd have that opportunity would be if a stray cat wandered into our fenced yard. I would feel terrible if that happened, but not responsible and not obligated to "train" my dog, who was bred for 250 years to hunt (not Esther personally) not to kill cats.

    Oddly, I haven't seen any stray cats since we moved here. The dogs here outnumber the people and I believe the cats stay indoors.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    I disagree with you, Love's Sophie, when you say that killing cats might escalate into killing small dogs or attacking children. I believe the desire to chase down and kill a running cat is not particularly related to the desire to attack a human being, small or full grown.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.


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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    How is she sure that it's the big guy doing the killing? My first instinct would be to look at the Jack.

    That being said, she's at fault for letting the cats roam and you should probably take the first step and advise the local animal control.

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    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    The behavior continues. It could escalate to small dogs, or little children who come into your yard to play with your kids; to you they belong there, but to him, they might not...like those cats.
    That's the most ridiculous thing I've read in a while. I completely disagree and think that statement shows a tremendous misunderstanding of dogs. Dogs chase cats. When they catch them, sometimes they kill them. The "taste for blood" argument is lame-o.

    Many of our greyhounds would kill a cat outside in a heartbeat. They are perfectly fine with our indoor kennel cats. Dogs *have* intelligence. They have the ability to distinguish between prey and not appropriate prey animals. Being outside...a fast moving smaller animal...that is what prey IS to a dog. Could just as easily be a rabbit or a squirrel.

    It does sound like the dogs are spending a lot of unsupervised time outside...not sure what your set up is - whether you live on a farm or a subdivision...but it may be a good idea to supervise your pets when they are outside. If nothing else, than to protect them against potential retaliation from the cat owner.
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    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Quote Originally Posted by FilleBelle View Post
    I disagree with you, Love's Sophie, when you say that killing cats might escalate into killing small dogs or attacking children. I believe the desire to chase down and kill a running cat is not particularly related to the desire to attack a human being, small or full grown.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    Dogs that have an eagerness to run after a small running creature may not differentiate (one day) between a small dog, or small child...like I said, this dog may be, in his mind, be doing his 'guardian' job, which is why he is 'protecting' his yard from those cats...

    And having worked with Humane Societies, Pet Clinics, Dog Training Clubs, as well as being a dog groomer, I have seen dogs who have had a bad habit of chasing small animals turn into a bad habit of chasing people-these were dogs like this one, who were kept in their own yard and fence chased and killed small animals when they could get a hold of them, and then one day, the dog just 'went after' someone; it's the 'thrill' you might say...I also lived in the country, as well, all my 'youth' days, and very often neighbors dogs who grew up roaming and causing trouble with neighbor dogs and cats, often turned into the dogs that also chased people on bikes, or joggers\walkers...hmmmmm I wonder if there is a connection...so it can escalate if it the dog is not carefully monitered; and in this case, mainly socialization with people, people, people; which this owner seems to be doing...the cat issue may not be ever solved, but I think that him chasing people could be prevented. I am not saying that he will turn into the neighborhood monster...he probably won't, but it could happen...as has been stated by more than just me...dogs are predators...this means they are perfectly capable of attacking someone...even my own well socialized dog could snap one day...it's not very likely, but it "could" happen. That is all I am saying...there is a long shot that his behavior could escalate.

    Oh, and to those of you who think that the 'taste for blood' is a stupid thing to 'think about our wonderful dogs'...you've obviously never experienced canines out of boredom attacking and killing sheep or goats, or other livestock. They don't kill to eat, they just kill, and mangle...I can post some links of people who have lost many animals to the SAME DOGS over and over again, because they keep coming back for more!!! For now I have posted some "fact" links, and one story link...if you want more, I can certainly find them...I have, over the years, lost some of my own livestock to dogs...and they certainly were not starved animals...I could understand that, but these were well cared for dogs, who just got bored, and started out chasing little things, like squirrels, and rabbits and cats...then they wanted something bigger...I have NEVER however, had an issue with wild animals killing for the heck of it; actually, have never lost one to a wolf or coyote...hmmm...go figure...Yet one of my goats that I currently have bears scars from THREE seperate attacks by the SAME DOG!!! Goats don't usually run, especially if they have kids, or are cornered, they stand their ground! My doe does not run...she protects the rest of the herd so he certainly wasn't "chasing" her for the thrill...he didn't have to chase her at all, but he could have left her well enough alone...but nope, he must have wanted something else...hmmmm...

    http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Animals/DogMyths.asp

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/...cts/02-029.htm

    http://www.littlefriendsranch.com/vi...og_attacks.htm
    Last edited by Love's_Sophie; 10-10-2007 at 11:59 PM.

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    Senior Member Spicy1_VV's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Quote Originally Posted by Love's_Sophie View Post
    Well, cats don't stay home and once a dog tastes blood, I am sorry to have to say, it becomes a deadly game...he will wait until the next small critter comes along to kill.

    Prys should not have such a hig prey drive (as in, just killing for fun, as it sounds like this dog may be doing) as they are bred as livestock guardian dogs; one of the best, however, if they don't work as guardians they can turn into predators like any other dog...

    I am afraid there is not really much you can do for your cat killing dog; even if your neighbor keeps HER cats home, what about any other cats that may get lost? The behavior continues. It could escalate to small dogs, or little children who come into your yard to play with your kids; to you they belong there, but to him, they might not...like those cats.

    However, on a side note; Even as livestock guardians, these dogs can and will kill large (emphasis on large) predatorial animals that don't belong in with their herd (coyotes, stray dogs, wolves, even bears); they will also attack humans that don't belong in their 'herd'...keep that in mind. He may just be doing his job, in his mind; it's just that his predator is your neighbor's cats... Key thing though is that these dogs, are supposed to keep large predators at bay; but small animals that a farmer usually has along with his livestock are supposed to be safe from his jaws; most farmers have tons of barn cats, and not to mention that his sheep and goats will have little ones once or twice a year, and those are no bigger than a grown cat; so I still say your dog has a problem!
    This is one of the craziest post I've ever read on the forum. A dog can be both people and animal aggressive. It depends on the issue at hand. Some dogs are not right because of poor breeding/training and want to chase/kill/attack anything they see.

    However it seems generalized statements have been made out of ignorance. The breed I own (APBT) many times comes with a high prey drive. None of my dogs have ever attempted to bite a child, even those in full run (prey behavior), they are not excited by children. They are around children 1-16yrs. The oldest dog at my home is 16yrs. I doubt she is going to one day resort to attacking small children. Another female, who has since passed, would kill birds, beetles, rabbits, squirrels, mice and yes 2 cats (I think they had a death wish actually) and never did she ever try to attack a child. A child was a human and not a prey animal. She was used to train Jr Handlers too, she loved kids and all people in fact. So did another female I had, she was a very small APBT and again was used in Jr handling and had killed a cat once. I had other peoples kids around my dogs at this and the dogs accepted and loved each one as their own including her. She would get lots of walks and attention by them being small and cute. She had a high prey drive and so did her brother, extremely high, yet never tried to attack these kids. A dog that would advance to a human is unstable and has no discernment and is just as bad an an excited biter-one that would turn and bite their owner to be free to get a prey animal. They shouldn't redirect aggression at you, nor should they direct their aggression towards a child.

    Attacking because they think a kid doesn't belong there? Well I had strange neighbor kids (3-13yrs) come in my yard (which was fenced/locked), one of which is mentally handicapped and hits dogs, and my dogs were outside at the time. When I looked 3 of the kids were running around playing with the dogs and the other boy was hitting one of my dogs with a stick while he was just wagging his tail. These kids in no way belonged there and my dogs didn't know them. Yet they were happily playing with them even though some have high prey drive and have chased and/or killed small animals before. So I see the whole killing kids because they kill small animals not kosher at all. I was never and still am not worried that my dogs will turn to attacking kids or people period.

    "The taste of blood" is a myth. Once a dog gets the taste of blood doesn't become it a killer. None of my dogs have ever attempted to kill a humane because they "got the taste of blood" from a prey animal.

    This is similar to working protection dogs, they don't attack without discernment. They attack when told to or when a REAL threat arises. If a child walks in a yard with a protection/guard dog (and yes I know people its happened to) that dog shouldn't react by attacking the child. A stable, well trained and socialized dog knows the difference. If a knew friend comes over your dog doesn't want to eat it. Its a different situation and these dogs are trained to go for humans and have protective instincts yet they have enough training and intelligence that they know the difference.

    Similar to hog hunting dogs, they catch and hold a large angry boar one minute and shortly after are playing with another child and love all people.

    If the dog is attacking out of boredom then something should be done to change the dogs behavior. Some dogs need jobs, I see a lot of issues when people get working breeds that don't have a job. Sometimes it ends with that dog getting bored/fustrated and people get hurt. Most often its destructive and just chews and tears things up. This breed isn't known to have a high prey drive, so it is odd and something you want to correct. Dogs attack for different reasons and its hard to make an assessment without knowing the dog.

    Ok so I just read one of the dog myths thing and it said OPPOSITE of what you said. That dogs will continue to kill once they get the taste of blood was a MYTH.....lol Kind of foolish to post something that goes against what you are saying. I would also say being a livestock owner and having friends/family with livestock it is most often time WILD DOGS and COYOTES in particular. Some domesticated dogs will/have attack and in some cases killed livestock, but usually its the Coyotes. They are coming in early this year.

    Oh no guys my dogs won't hesitate to engage them (coyotes), should I be worried, they might attack people next? j/k I am thinking of getting a Kangal to keep the herd safe.
    Last edited by Spicy1_VV; 10-11-2007 at 02:44 AM.

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    Senior Member georgygirl's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    I had a springer spaniel as a kid who wouldn't think twice about killing a cat. She never grew up around cats and she was a hunting breed. She NEVER went after a child. She had plenty of chances since my mother was a daycare provider. I think going from killing cats to going after kids is a HUGE leap. Is it possible? anythings possible....is it likey? Not in my opinion. But hey....lets freak out the OP when the Pyr has been nothing but patient with her kids. Honestly, it might be the jack russell since this seemed to start after he joined the family. Terriers can have a lot of prey drive.
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    Senior Member tsorcus's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    By your logic, it would seem that it would be perfectly appropriate for the owner of the cats to shoot your dogs if they came into her yard, or even loose anyhwere else, as you should have had them effectifely under your control. If my dog killed a cat outdoors on his own he would never be allowed out unsupervised again - end of discussion. Cats roam, this is in their nature and I can't believe that you people would condemn a woman for caring for stray cats. I guess you all believe that cats should be confined to a cage - which is what house confinement essentially is. This is like never taking a dog out at all in my opinion. You all make me sick!

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    Super Moderator RonE's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    I actually don't think cats OR dogs should be allowed to roam at large.

    I understand it's much more difficult to contain a cat. That's one reason I own dogs.

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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    I agree the statement about killing children and such is ridiculous......

    however, what I do want to say is that I just had a conversation with a friend about some of the guarding livestock dogs......

    IF YOU DON"T give this type of herd guarding dog something to guard they will find something to guard.

    There is a Pyr. person here and I would love to hear their take on this but the fact is that these dogs are bred to guard their herd. They are not necessarily the best people dogs only because many of them don't really care about people. They are put with sheep and other livestock (remember the color of a Pyr) to blend in and guard the sheep......

    Now when you have one of these herd guarding dogs and dont give them a herd to guard they quickly make their families their herd. It is instinct and they are quick to protect their families. This is not exclusive to Pyr's but also Komondors for one of the top of my head.

    It is likely that your dog IS PROTECTING you from what he views as intruders into his territory that he is bound to protect and to close to his flock, the people in the house.

    We need to understand how our dogs are wired to truly understand their behavior. They don't view things as we do and they depending on their history and breed instinct don't see the cats as game.....

    I doubt this dog has a prey drive in the way the jack russell does a breed that was bred to hunt small animals, I doubt he wants to retrieve like a sporting dog.... or hunt like a hound..... what he does wnat to do is protect his flock (the family and their other dog) from intruders and that is what he is doing.....


    Now as far as dogs killing for fun..... that is just silly and the taste of blood,,,, shoot my dogs taste blood every day.....

    This dog is all about protection ...... you can't generalize what one breed or group of strays does to all dogs.... and while some dogs might kill livestock for fun (which I doubt.... the motivation is fun.... but they killed the livestock none the less) I can't imagine a dog that is bred to guard their herd EVER doing that...... even if what you were saying was even remotely true.... which it is not.



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    Last edited by Shalva; 10-11-2007 at 06:51 AM.

  19. #18
    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Cats roam, this is in their nature and I can't believe that you people would condemn a woman for caring for stray cats. I guess you all believe that cats should be confined to a cage - which is what house confinement essentially is. This is like never taking a dog out at all in my opinion. You all make me sick!
    Ok...now *this* is the most ridiculous thing I've read in a while. Cats are *domesticated* - I think my cats prefer to be ALIVE and living inside than smashed on the road or gutted by a dog. I'll have to ask them, but I'm pretty sure they prefer the "alive and in one piece" option.

    My dogs would love it if I let them roam (roaming is a dog's nature as well) all day long. But I don't. And I don't because I've taken on the responsibility for caring for them and making sure they aren't exposed to unnecessary dangers when I brought th em into my life.

    I understand, though, that the attitude towards cats is a lot different in Europe than it is in the States. So this is probably something we'll never agree on.

    Oh...and about the shooting the dog comment - You can bet if an animal (domesticated or not) came onto MY property and was attacking MY animals that I would use whatever force necessary to ensure the life and saftey of my pets. And that includes deadly force if that was the only option.

    I dont' understand why people have animals if they are just going to throw them out on the street and make everyone else in the community have to put up with them. That goes for dogs and cats.
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    Senior Member Betty's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    One of my best friends is having serious issues with his neighbor's cats. The cats roam free, have punched holes through his boat cover and other property, leave dead birds on his property and in his boat, spray all over the place, etc. The neighbor just scoffs him. My friend has finally used live traps to catch them and turn them in to the shelter.

    A lot of people somehow rationalize that domesticated cats can be permitted to roam free to damage property and reduce the songbird population while domesticated dogs must be leashed and confined. It's a double standard. If you truly care for the well being of your animal, your animal should not leave your property.

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    Senior Member the-tenth's Avatar
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    Re: Help! my dog is killing cats

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorcus View Post
    By your logic, it would seem that it would be perfectly appropriate for the owner of the cats to shoot your dogs if they came into her yard, or even loose anyhwere else, as you should have had them effectifely under your control. If my dog killed a cat outdoors on his own he would never be allowed out unsupervised again - end of discussion. Cats roam, this is in their nature and I can't believe that you people would condemn a woman for caring for stray cats. I guess you all believe that cats should be confined to a cage - which is what house confinement essentially is. This is like never taking a dog out at all in my opinion. You all make me sick!
    Dogs kill cats. It's their nature. You're argument for roaming cats is the same reason the cats are being killed. What if I had a chipmunk that I fed, and considered a "pet" and a cat killed, because that's what cats do? Would that be ok? That "logic" doesn't say it's ok to shoot her cats. I don't think anybody is camping out in the OP's backyard with a 22. If I knew my neighbor had a pet tiger, and I was stupid enough to let my dogs go oer there to it, I would be very upset when one of them was eaten, but it would be because of my stupidity not the neighbors. There are arguments against leaving dogs tethered outside almost daily, because of what could happen to them. Why should cats be any different. I pity the cat that makes its way into my backyard. I have 2 dogs with extremely high prey drives.
    Last edited by the-tenth; 10-11-2007 at 10:24 AM.

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