June 28, 2017

What Would You Do: Feral Dogs

In this “what would you do” I want you to think about a possible future situation where many people are not able to feed their pets. They have begun to take them to distant areas and release them, letting them run wild.  Many dogs have gone feral and some have formed packs. 


There are two things to consider:

  1. What will you do to keep from being in this situation with your pets?
  2. What will you do if you live near an area with feral dogs?



  1. Chris Ray says:

    I honestly don’t know how long it takes for dogs to go feral, but I think I know people pretty well and I think this would be an option many would take.

    1. We view our dogs as family and we prepare for our dogs as well, so I hope to never be put in this situation. Our dog food bin holds 30lbs and we store two more 30lb bags in a 30 gallon metal garbage can. We have small dogs so this is probably a 3 month supply. If things got this bad, I could hunt and fish to supplement their food. They could also eat some of ours stores. If we could not feed them, I would not let them fend for themselves, they would only end up being prey for other dogs. I hate to say it, but as an absolute last resort, I would put them down before throwing them away.

    2. We don’t let our dogs outside without us now and would keep a closer eye on them in this situation. I would hope that there is still some form of service available to deal with any feral dogs, but if not, I think people would form one.

  2. Charles Fillinger says:

    This situation already exists for many people, we live in a rural subdivision of 1/2 – 5 acre lots. People abandon dogs here probably because it looks like a nice area for the dog to find a home. Some residents allow their animals to roam freely. There are several packs of dogs living in wooded areas that hunt anything to eat. County animal control will not set traps without the (absent) land owner’s permission. Animal control also demands a $150.00 deposit to set a trap om your land. Both Animal Control and the Sheriff’s Dept. advise shooting the animals if they attack your pets or livestock. These animals are no longer man’s best friends. I have shot 3 that dug under our fence and attempted to get in the chicken pens. When I find a friendly stray I turn them over to the animal shelter otherwise they become a pack member or prey for the pack. I expect it will take a child being savaged before any major changes take effect.

    • Chris Ray says:

      That is a very tough spot Charles. Thank you for posting and bringing some realism to the topic.

  3. In answer to number 2, if a feral dog becomes a threat, I’ll put it down, probably with the .22lr, to conserve the better ammo.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Depending on the size of the dog .22 might not be enough, but if possible then I agree with you on the choice and reasoning.

  4. You must shoot all of them. They are the most dangerious of all K-9s. They are smarter than the wild dogs like coyotes or wolves.

  5. We unfortunately have this problem here with cats and dogs. It seems that the mentality of the person not wanting/able to/willing to care for their animal anymore that ‘we will just dump the cat where there is a barn and/or the dog out because ‘every’ farmer needs a dog/cat/rabbit/animal.

    We have had pet rabbits dumped only to watch in horror as a fox comes running down the hill and grabs it. We have watched cats fight (vet bills for ours is no fun) because someone dropped a cat here and ours of course are territorial.

    Dogs…we have a pack running the road dumping trash, getting into things and as much as an animal lover that I am..I drop them in their tracks. When they are far enough away I fire a shot in front of them…don’t leave? Dropped.

    They are a danger to my other animals and my small grandchildren. They are a danger to other animals as their shots are not up to date, have eaten possible/probably rabid animals. There is nothing more frightening to be in a field and see a pack come down the road. There is nothing more frightening to go on the deck to look at stars with grandchild..throw said child into the house in horror as you hear that throaty growl.

    Shelters are getting full..I understand that. They will however help those that are willing to continue care for animals instead of abandonment.

    The worse heartbreaker was pulling up at an intersection to make a left turn. Car door opened…dog put out…car drove away and dog sitting there wondering what it did wrong. We stayed and called sherrif. Got license # and unfortunately for them while they were standing there denying it the dog was jumping on it and they called it by name. 4 lane highway..abandonment.

    Yes for the sake of the animal, the farm animals here, my grandchldren…I will put them down and be sure they are down and give them a proper burial.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Nancy that sounds you have a real problem, thank you for posting it. This is happening now and probably has been for a long time, in rural areas. I don’t understand the mentality that would make it alright to make my problem someone else’s. This is why I prepare in general and with my animals in mind.

  6. My heart to those that hurt because of the decisions we need to make when the final days are at their worse. The animals suffer most because of betrayal, abandonment. That’s something they just don’t recover from

  7. Hope it never come to all this. We don’t have feral dogs in our rural area but we have 8 cats and 2 dogs, all rescue but the chihuahua. We’ve seen bear and puma in our back yard and the coyotes sing their kill songs almost every night. I doubt feral dogs will take hold with all that going on.

    1. I have sealed 3 – 40 gal. cans with cat food and dog food on hand. I have animal traps of several different kinds and guns and ammo. I think it would be a while before the area in hunted out but if or when that is true I would put them down before letting them go feral. My sweet dogs wouldn’t stand a chance. The cats hunt on their own some anyway, but may be killing small game I might come to depend on. I seriously doubt I could ever eat a pet but I’ve never been seriously starving.

    2. In short, shoot them. I have stocked snare cabling and supplies for any large dogs or other predators and conibear traps for smaller pests. I they are really smart and a threat I have no issue with trapping them and dispatching them if necessary.

    • Chris Ray says:

      It sounds like your pretty well prepared for,this and I’m with you, I hope it never comes to it.

      • I was thinking, much of the prepper fiction out there deals with feral dogs on one level or another. That’s probably what brought it to my awareness. Ron Foster covers it quite well in his Prepper Trilogy Series. There again, hard to think about! What it will take to get to that point seems quite unreal now, but worth preparing for because of the stark reality of what could be. Not being able to defend your loved ones from once peaceful but now ravenous, hungry, blood-thirsty dogs would be a tragedy indeed.

        • Chris Ray says:

          Prepper fiction is how the topic got on my radar as well. I can’t remember the name of the story now, but there was a large problem with feral dog packs. The town organized a hunt to thin them down and much of the meat went to feed those who needed food.
          Very gruesome indeed, but like you said, still worth preparing for.

  8. jrmartin says:

    First of all we have ONE dog. We do not have any more than we can afford under any circumstance. She will stay with us regardless what hits the fan. We keep enough of her medications on hand to hold us over in an emergency. She is a small long haired Chuhuahua and food is not a problem. Since we are on restricted diets she can eat anything we eat.

    We have also had her certified as a medical service dog.

    People who have more than two dogs as pets cannot give them the personal attention or receive the personal attention a single dog can provide. They are missing out on so much love and devotion by having to “spread” it all around.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I disagree with your sweeping statement, but I understand the sentiment. I have always said that dogs should come in pairs so they always have a companion and someone to play with.

      • Jim Moore says:

        I have to agree with Ray here JR, though I too understand your sentiment. I admire you for having her certified as a medical service dog. That’s awesome! Of our ten animals, all are rescues except the chihuahua. And while we do see jealousy and occasional strife within the mix the love and devotion we see is awesome. For instance, the other day I took a walk in the woods. Four of our cats and the our two dogs went with me. We walked and jumped the creek. I often had to wait for stragglers whether they were just finding their own way through the brush or had found a smell that just demanded more attention, we journeyed as a family until we all got back home safe and quenched our thrist and hung out for a nap. Doing that with ONE dog would have been great too, but with the many, many more joys were had.
        Each of these family members would have starved or died another way most likely had we not taken them in. They show great gratitude for that and how much more gratitude is needed in our world today?
        I know you enjoy your one beloved dog and will in a dirty fan situation be better off to take care of the needs of just one, but the joy we have with our little tribe of grateful companions is great.
        Our terrier bulldog mix has made my chihuahua move loving and calm and they keep each other sharp and protected, in my opinion. So having two dogs to share love and devotion with is wonderful and neither has to be lonely when we’re away.

        • Chris Ray says:

          That walk sounds like a lot of fun. Oh and I answered to Ray for years, either is fine with me lol.

  9. Jim Moore says:

    Ooops, meant to say ‘I have to agree with Chris here!’ :)
    I hope we can all be on a first name basis here.

  10. Margaret Kiemele says:

    This whole section has reminded me about that Kevin Costner movie (think it was the Postman) – anyway – he was travelling and a huge lion crossed his path. You did a double take and then started thinking “Yes – zoos would have no security – what if???
    Our own area has an “animal park” only about 5 km’s away. There is a pack of wolves and bears – behind electric fences! Mmmm – now add that to feral dogs – oh wow!!!
    Sure makes you think of many different scenarios – of things we just take for granted! Thank you Chris – for “making us think!!”

    • Jim Moore says:

      Wow Margaret, something to think about. I recently took some of the grandkids to an Alligator Park that had lots of gators and other critters. Glad I don’t live too close.

    • Chris Ray says:

      that does add another level to this scenario. The last time I saw the postman I wasn’t a prepper, might have to watch it again with new eyes.

  11. he greatest factor in your preparations is developing wisdom about how to conduct your life and developing a mindset (or rather a spirit) that allows you to make good choices, yet welcoming God’s forgiveness when you have chosen poorly.

    1. If you already have a pet or pair of pets, you have a responsibility to prepare for their needs as well as your family’s.

    2. As for feral animals:

    (a) Your first responsibility is to keep your family and friends safe. We live in a metropolitan suburb that has nearby “green areas” where “non-domesticated” animals fend for themselves. My son(an adult) was outside one night sitting on the curb in front our house smoking a cigarette when he noticed three coyotes slowly prowling down the street about 50 feet away. He stood up and two of them stopped but one kept moving closer. He had nothing to protect himself but a pocket knife and was considerably farther from our front door than from the pack leader. He started to slowly back toward the house, when the coyote attacked and leaped toward his face. He instinctively raised his left arm to block and stabbed with his right . The animal fell back and ran off. When my son rushed inside I found the claws had ripped through his jacket and long sleeve shirt leaving four bleeding gashes in his forearm.
    None of us had anticipated this since we are only 100 yards from an elementary school and five hundred yard from a large high school complex. Of course, Coyotes are not feral, but when animals get hungry (we were in a drought and food for their food was scarce), animals of any kind can be “unreasonably” aggressive. The point of all this is that you and yours need to be prepared for the unexpected.

    (b) If you even consider helping a “stray”, be careful, because their more recent, non-domestic experiences may make them more fearful, desperate, or aggressive than they were previously. Also, understand that they may quickly become dependent on your benevolence. In this case you as the human have taken on obligations of husbandry.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I live in a suburb and we have had reports of coyotes not far from us, and reports of bears in a nearby town. While not feral it proves your point, when times are lean, they can be lean for more than just we humans and animals of any kind can become more aggressive. I’m glad your some had his knife and that he got away with as little damage as he did, it could have been much worse.

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