Slimantics: A killer in our midst?

 

Slim Smith

 

 

There's a killer on the loose, last seen in west Oktibbeha County.

 

Details are few.

 

We know it's a German Shepherd. We know it has killed more than two dozen farm animals -- goats and rabbits -- in an area between Maben and Starkville.

 

 

Lamar Simmons, who asked the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to strengthen the county's vicious dog ordinance, said the dog has killed 14 goats and a rabbit on his property alone. He said he even caught the dog in the act once, shooting it in the face with a rifle, which apparently succeeded only in hurting the dog's feelings, if that.

 

Simmons said he heard the dog has been shipped out of state by the local Humane Society, but neither the sheriff's department nor the Humane Society seems to know anything about the dog's current whereabouts. The Humane Society swears it didn't ship the dog to somebody in Michigan or Ohio with the care instructions "Good with cats. Not good with goats. Does not respond well to being shot in the face."

 

Now, if I had shot a dog in the face with a rifle and it just shrugged it off and disappeared out of state, I would assume it's on the way back to Maine and call Stephen King to tell him to put another padlock on Cujo's cage.

 

So while what we know about this situation is disturbing, what we don't know is even more disturbing.

 

The dog could be pretty much anywhere. He may be rooting around in your yard right now trying to sniff out a goat.

 

There is no evidence that the dog has attacked a human so far. It appears to have confined its malice to goats and rabbits.

 

But who can tell what's in this dog's heart and mind now? I can't imagine that getting shot in the face has done anything to improve his opinion of humans, so I wouldn't take any chances.

 

Although this case is an extreme example, it should serve as a reminder that domestic dogs (and cats) are murderers at heart, regardless of size, breed or whether or not they wear cute outfits.

 

My two dogs - Paddy, a pit bull mix, and Dooley, a dachshund -- certainly have blood on their paws. They've killed a possum, a raccoon, two large snakes, innumerable moles (Dooley's main contribution to the carnage, I suspect), squirrels, birds and even a bearded dragon.

 

Cats are even worse. They're not just murderers: They are sadists.

 

Dogs and cats also appear to kill mainly for sport, although you could rationalize their killing by saying they are simply being protective of their owners. I'm skeptical about that. I cannot imagine Dooley seeing a squirrel and thinking, "This squirrel poses a clear and present danger to my people. I must kill it!"

 

When I was a kid, I had a Boston Terrier named Buddy, who was great with kids (a toddler could pull his ears off and Buddy wouldn't do anything other than try to escape) but cats faced a certain death.

 

He killed every cat that dared venture into our neighborhood. Every time I turned around it seemed like I was apologizing to a neighbor about what happened to her cat. In that era, it was just accepted fact that dogs killed cats. Nobody demanded restitution for a dead cat. It wouldn't be neighborly.

 

My dad did kill a dog I owned who wouldn't quit digging up our neighbor's strawberry patch, though. Frontier justice was always a mystery to me.

 

Cats and strawberries are one thing, but none of my dogs ever roamed the countryside like some canine Samson looking for Philistine goats.

 

Obviously, this German Shepherd needs to be accounted for. We've already got enough to worry about these days.

 

I know all this sounds very bad, but it's important to have a little perspective in situations like this. It could be worse, you know.

 

Right now, there's a tiger on the loose in Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

It's just like Tennessee to say, "Hold my beer," isn't it?

 

 

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

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