Welcome to this week’s Survive The Coming Collapse newsletter, brought to you by David’s book, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, which goes into detail on how to keep improving your firearms skills in a time of crazy-expensive ammo…if you can even find it. If you own a gun, you need this book. It’s less than a single ticket to the movies and you’ll save more than that in your first 5 minutes of training. To learn more, go >HERE< now.
Survival Diva here with advice on how you can survive a feral dog attack. When you take a look at dog statistics, the potential for a bad encounter with a wild dog is certainly there. Americans love their pets! There are 77.5 million dogs owned in America with 39% of households owning at least one dog. For today at least, 75% of owned dogs are spayed or neutered.
Even though most people are responsible pet owners, the problem of feral dogs in the U.S. is growing. Although many pet owners facing tough times choose to feed their dogs instead of taking care of their own needs, others abandon their pets when shelters won’t take them, or they let them roam free to supplement their diet.
The pack mentality of feral dogs is routinely reported in cities and in rural locations, where they work together as a team to kill livestock. Angry farmers retaliate by killing them, but the problem isn’t going away. It’s estimated feral dogs are at least partially responsible for killing goats, sheep and cattle to the tune of 37 million dollars annually and that number is expected to go up.
(David’s note: I’ve run into packs of 10+ feral dogs in Texas while trail running in urban/wildland interface areas. Fortunately, I rarely run with headphones on, and I have always managed to hear them far enough out that I’ve been able to box (land navigation tactic) around them. It’s important to have a plan figured out in advance for how you will avoid or break contact with wildlife when you’re out on the trail.)
In Detroit, the feral dog problem has become so dangerous, the postal service considered refusing delivery to certain neighborhoods due to their mail carriers constantly being bitten and attacked.
The U.S. does not keep track of the feral dog population, most likely because they are too illusive for it to be possible to get a reliable tally of their numbers as they adapt by living in abandoned buildings and cars, sewers and tunnels, and in rural locations; wooded areas.
Recent Feral Dog Attacks
Listing every feral dog attack would serve no purpose, but here are a few chilling stories that hit the news:
Reported by MSN News, January 8, 2013: Officials say stray dogs killed 4 in a park near Mexico City
Reported by Cibola Beacon An eight-year-old boy, Tomas Jay Henio, was attacked and killed by nine feral dogs on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
Excerpt: “A representative from the Ramah Navajo Police Department confirmed the incident.
According to the Cibola County Sheriff’s Office, Henio went outside and minutes later his mom went to check on him only find her child face down, unresponsive, with bite marks on his body.”
Reported by APTN National News, April 12, 2013: Boy lucky to be alive after feral dog attack in Manitoba.
Excerpt: “A six-year-old Manitoba boy is recovering after surgery to repair to his mauled face.
It’s just the latest attack by a pack of feral dogs on a First Nation.”
Reported by abc15.com, October 24, 2012 by Steve Kuzi; Wild dogs attacking neighbors and killing pets in Maricopa, Arizona
Excerpt: “MARICOPA, AZ – When a pack of wild dogs attacked a man in Maricopa, he fought back with his handgun.
Shockingly, it wasn’t the first time Dennis Johnson had to fire his gun at vicious dogs in his neighborhood. The last time was a week ago when a group of the dogs surrounded him. Johnson was saved by his brave border collie, Baby.
“She jumped in the middle of all nine of them to save me,” Johnson said.”
Reported by Associated Press, August 18, 2009; Coroner: Wild dogs killed Georgia woman, then husband.
Excerpt: “LEXINGTON, Ga. — An elderly woman killed by a pack of wild dogs had been out for a walk when she was attacked, and her husband died trying to fight off the mauling animals when he discovered the bloody scene near their rural Georgia home, authorities said Tuesday.”
Note: Cases of dog attacks are on the increase for owner-cared for dogs as well, which during times of stress and food shortages means we should be even more cautious of all dogs we aren’t familiar with, and possibly those we are. You can Click Here for a Wikipedia report, titled Fatal Dog Attacks In The United States, which chronicles owner dog-related fatalities from 1947 to 2012.
(David’s note: Having been taught in a college Poli-Sci class how to manipulate statistics for press releases, I question and dig into almost every statistic I see. With that in mind, there may or may not be a TRUE increase in the risk factor for most people at this time. Here’s why:
Fast-Forward To a Long-Term crisis
So, what happens in a long-term crisis to these loved pets when their owners run out of dog food and aren’t able to share people food with them? It’s likely they will be set loose to fend for themselves. In the wild, they will eventually turn to their ancestral ways.
This will be compounded by the fact that spaying/neutering are elective procedures AND that animal shelters are having to refuse animals at an increasing rate.
The origination of the domesticated dog is not known for certain, but what is known is their closest ancestor is the wolf.
Turned loose to fend for themselves, feral dogs will do whatever it takes to survive, just as humans will and they will need to depend upon hunting and eating wild foods.
The aggression of a domesticated dog that was turned loose will likely vary—no different than what we should expect to see in humans.
An important fact is that feral dog’s numbers will increase at lightning speed once spaying and neutering is no longer possible and for consecutive litters that are born undomesticated, their link to humans will be severed.
How to Spot Signs Of Feral Dogs
It’s likely that the number of feral dogs will be great enough that you’ll know when they are close by. However, there may be locations across the U.S. where the problem may be less obvious, and in those cases, it’s good to know what to be on the lookout for.
The following excerpts were taken from the Center For Wildlife Damage Management:
“Feral dogs are usually secretive and wary of people. Thus, they are active during dawn, dusk, and at night much like other wild canids. They often travel in packs or groups and may have rendezvous sites like wolves. Travel routes to and from the gathering or den sites may be well defined. Food scraps and other evidence of concentrated activity may be observed at gathering sites.
Tracks left by feral dogs varies with the size and weight of the animal. Generally, dog tracks are rounder and show more prominent nail marks than those of coyotes, and they are usually larger than those of foxes. Since a pack of feral dogs likely consists of animals in a variety of sizes and shapes, the tracks from a pack of dogs will be correspondingly varied, unlike the tracks of a group of coyotes.
Here is another excerpt we should pay close attention to:
“Feral dogs commonly kill house cats, and they may injure or kill domestic dogs. In areas where people have not hunted and trapped feral dogs, the dogs may not have developed fear of humans, and in those instances such dogs may attack people, especially children. This can be a serious problem in areas where feral dogs feed at and live around garbage dumps near human dwellings. Such situations occur most frequently around small remote towns.”
How To Avoid A Feral Dog Attack
It’s wiser to take steps to avoid a feral dog attack than to have to defend yourself against one. In some locations, this will be more difficult to do depending upon their numbers and whether or not they have a steady, reliable food source.
Because I have a den of coyotes living only 200 yards from my cabin, along with wolf, cougar, bear, fox and bobcat (one camped out under my cabin this past winter), I picked up a burning barrel. My intention is to burn refuse during a crisis to avoid attracting animals when I’m no longer able to get to the refuse bins located just outside of town. If you’re able, pick up an old metal drum (one without a top) and always remember to store plenty of matches.
(David’s note: More important than matches, learn firecraft. And don’t think that just because you have a whiz-bang sparker that you can make fire. Making fire from a spark is a skill that needs to be honed and maintained. Going one step further and making fire from a friction produced ember is better, but it will also humble you and teach you to respect fire in a way that only those who have tried, failed, and nearly frozen truly appreciate.)
You will need to watch pets more closely because It’s for sure they will be on a feral dog’s meal plan. There’s another side to this. Pets will draw hungry dogs to your location, endangering you and your loved ones as well.
If you plan to cook food outdoors, either over a fire pit or a BBQ, it is important not to leave scraps and unwashed cooking utensils and dishes outdoors that will attract feral dogs and other wild animals. I learned this lesson the hard way, even though I knew better.
My son BBQ’d steaks for a family get together one weekend. After the dinner dishes were washed and the last person had left, I got back to writing, never thinking to double-check what my son may have left behind near the BBQ…but a hungry resident black bear certainly did. He left his nose print on my sliding glass doors that measured 5 feet from the deck to his nose print. It turned out my son had forgotten to bring in a bowl of marinade and the BBQ utensil he’d used to turn the steaks. For that black bear, it must have smelled like tantalizing ambrosia. I will never make that same mistake again!
My point here is the bear that visited my wilderness cabin could have just as easily been a pack of feral dogs who were attracted to the smell of meat, so be sure to be careful about cleanup when cooking outdoors.
How To Survive A Feral Dog Attack
When you are walking, carry either dog repellant or a weapon, which might include a gun, baseball bat, a large stick or a knife. If a feral dog approaches you, your body language should never project fear, nor should you run. To do so sends the impression you are weak, or another words, prey.
Never look a feral dog in the eye. In the animal kingdom this is viewed as a challenge. Turn to the side, as standing in front of a dog tells them you are in the position to attack, and they are likely to respond by escalating their aggression.
Remain calm, holding your position, and don’t wave your arms or hands, as this may invite the dog to bite you if they feel threatened. If you give them a command to leave, do not scream. Stay in command of the situation. If you have an object like a backpack, or a walking stick, that will distract the dog, and they go on the attack, they are likely to bite the object, rather than you.
(David’s note: In situations where I’ve been confronted by a wild animal who I thought was going to attack, I have taken the role of apex predator, puffed up, tucked my chin, aimed my gun at the animal, and started yelling. Four things that I do immediately are to 1. pick out my primary target on the animal. 2. Scan for additional threats. and 3. Plan my lateral movement in case the animal decides to charge and my shots don’t immediately stop the threat. 4. Pick what I will offer the animal to bite on if they charge (pack, shirt tied around my waist, fanny pack, stick, etc.) Your circumstances, personality, and results may vary, depending on your situation and the number of animals you’re facing. This is NOT a suggestion of what to do…simply an illustration that close encounters with violent animals are chaotic and don’t necessarily follow a script.)
If possible, climb higher such as climbing a tree, to get out of their reach, but do so moving backwards. And remember, whatever you do, never turn your back.
If you can’t get away and do not have a weapon and the dog attacks, all bets are off. Use your thumbs to gouge out an eye, or deliver a hard blow to the throat.
(David’s note: If you’re going to be in the backyard of wild animals, be smart–carry tools to defend yourself and have a plan. Whether it’s a firearm, knife, stick, stun gun, pepper spray, or TASER, have a plan. And, have a plan for what you’ll do if someone’s pet attacks you (or attacks your pet) vs. a wild animal.
As an example, one of my consulting clients told me the following story, “I had a dog that was not wild (it was a pet) attack my dog. Shooting/cutting it would not have been neighborly, and I didn’t want to so I decided to use my TASER. I didn’t want to shoot the TASER and figure out how to get the barbs out of the dog, so I took the cartridge out and did a drive stun. As soon as the dog broke contact with the TASER, it bit me. I did the drive stun again, stopped the biting momentarily, and got bit again. My dog wasn’t getting bit anymore, but I wasn’t having much fun.
I’m a pretty quick learner…and I had a black and white feedback loop telling me my technique was flawed. So, the 3rd time, I followed through and drove the TASER into the dog, pushed her over, and maintained contact for a few seconds. This time, when I pulled the TASER away, the fight was out of the dog.”)
Should you be knocked to the ground, roll into a ball on your stomach with your hands protecting the back of your neck—these are the areas a feral dog will instinctively attack because they are the most vulnerable. By remaining still and not presenting an easy target, it may put an end to the attack.
So, have you prepared for your pet by storing extra food? Have you considered the potential danger feral dogs will pose during a long-term crisis, and if so, what plans do you have in place to combat it? Please share by posting below!
Quick Note: Chapter 8 (part 2 of 2) is available. You can Click Here to read.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva.