No sooner than RSPCA clinic manager Dr William Huey was singing the
praises of a more caring and animal-loving Barbadian people, we would find
ourselves haplessly bemoaning the terrorizing of a St George farm by a pack of
Bajan canines. Reports referred to them as wild dogs. But were they?
Savage and ferocious they were; but they are hardly undomesticated. They
are somewhere right now lazing around their various owners’ homes or their
environs, separate and segregated, probably ill-watered and unfed, awaiting the
call to the next possible group pre-dawn feast.
Sadly, no dog owner will claim responsibility for the carnage inflicted last
weekend upon the turkey stock of the owners of Golden Ridge Farm: 130
of the birds slaughtered; 40 more bitten up and left to suffer a slow and
To farm owners Adrienne Norton and Bill Tempro, this represents $25,000
plus in losses –– coming on the heels of a December raid of 500 other turkeys
by truck-driving thieves, costing them another $40,000. By compromising the
security which the farm’s barbed wire fencing provided, the brazen robbers
seemingly facilitated the easy entry of the marauding dogs.
It would be reasonable to suggest then that this canine pack goes on a
regular foray, seeking out what available stock it might devour.
And, while we have no compunction insisting that the farm bandits, pirates
and thugs –– euphemistically referred to as predial larcenists –– ought to be
pursued and made to feel the full weight of the law, we plead for some mercy
for these dumb animals, almost certainly left to fend for themselves to fight for
survival. Their masters and mistresses will get no commensurate compassion
Indeed, our police ought to go after the owners of these ravaging dogs
as vigorously as they would the actual two-footed farm looters. After all, Ms
Norton and Mr Tempro are deserving of compensation; at least, of seeing
According to the Animal Control Centre, and the supporting Royal Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there are hardly any stray dogs
around these days –– more a tribute to the Control Centre’s work than Dr
Huey’s belief of a more animal-loving Bajan people –– and thus where dogs
reside, or spend time these days ought to be more easily sniffed out.
Another concern has to be what these canine raiders will do when their
wee-hour foraging turns up nothing. Will they attack the health-concious trying
to keep fit on our otherwise relatively safe roadways?
It is not unknown for joggers, or runners, or cyclists to be suddenly rushed
at by a whippersnapper or two –– even by a loose aggressive dog on the odd
occasion –– but there is not the familiar picture of dog packs assaulting health
freaks. And we would much prefer that it remain that way.
Too gruesome and tragic are the circumstances we learn of in places like
the United States where young and old joggers are from time to mauled to
death by attacking groups of dogs.
Obviously, the surest way of preventing any such attack is for dog owners
to train their animals not to do it in the first place –– to fellow animal or
human being; to always make sure their dogs are in a secure yard or inside the
house; and as importantly, or even more so, that they are appropriately fed
and properly watered.
People who are not sufficiently responsible to do this ought to be barred
from keeping dogs, and should suffer a restraining order forbidding them from
being within a ten-foot radius of any canine –– the penalty for the breaching
of which would be one month’s acclimatization to dogs and dog care at the
kennels of the Animal Control Centre or at the RSPCA.
Failure of this compliance then ought to be met with three months’ study in
animal care and dog history at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds.
The hyperbolical scenario is to drive home the point that we have not
necessarily become a more animal-caring society because there are hardly any
stray dogs in the streets of The City or in our fish markets. These unfortunate
creatures have almost all been euthanized.
In these tougher times when some Barbadians are complaining about the
inability to feed themselves and their children well, dogs are going to be at the
very bottom of their care chain.
In such cases, people having not the wherewithal to properly care for their
canines should give up ownership of them –– for their very own good, that of
the dogs, that of hard-working farmers like Adrienne Norton and Bill Tempro,
and that of the poor jogger whose innocent motion might just trigger again
that prey drive in a dog frustrated by having failed to get at a turkey gut –– or
a chicken neck