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Animal Rights Forum

Returning home after school, I was devastated to find that one of the yard chickens had been ripped open. In tears, I found both dogs nearby smelling of blood. The chickens came along with the house we rent. Kelsie & Chip have always been quite aggressive towards other animals, both being farm dogs. Even when living in the city it was apparent they loved rounding things up. Kelsie, 2, and Chip, 5, are the best at late night cuddles and therapeutic moments but when I educated myself on veganism, pets were not something I really wanted to have anymore, I hated the idea of owning an animal. I know that they will try to attack another animal, if they get the chance. They together have roughly (hurt & scared) rounded up wallabies, chickens, cats and insects. I love these dogs, but when I look at them I feel sick to my stomach, I know this is there natural instinct but the shame I feel is indescribable. I bought Kelsie when I was 13 with all my savings, I'm now 16. Chip was purchased as a family dog when I was 11. We live in a remote location (an island) so sending them away is not affordable. Most people where we live are quite rough with animals so I wouldn't trust how they would be treated. The only other option is to put them down. I don't want to do this but I don't want any other animals to suffer. What should I do?

Responses (5)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Tots at 10/24/17 20:28:30

    Hi Pipes, I can't tell you what to do, but I can offer a few thoughts to help guide you through this tough situation. First of all, I like to think of myself as a guardian to my animals, not an owner. This means that instead of thinking about them as property that I can do with as I please (or even kill, as you suggest), it's my duty to care for them, to keep them safe, and to keep them out of trouble. Your dogs have a natural instinct to hunt, and though you may be upset with them for acting on that urge, they can't be held responsible for their actions in the same way that people can. You and I can stop and ask questions about our actions such as "Should I be doing this?" but dogs don't have the ability to assess their actions. They can't be reasonably blamed or held morally responsible for their misdeeds, and they certainly don't deserve to die because of them.

    Instead, as their guardians, it's our responsibilities to make sure that they behave in an appropriate manner. It's on you to figure out how to stop them from hurting other animals, either by restricting your dogs when people aren't around to watch them, or by further protecting the chickens and other small animals with fencing, etc. Passing the dogs along to another family won't solve the issue - it will only stop you from having to witness the consequences of their behaviors and will prevent you from being able to stop their bad habits. And "putting them down" is punishing the dogs and choosing to value other animal's lives over theirs, which doesn't seem fair. Ultimately, it's about finding a balance between allowing your dogs to live fulfilling lives and protecting other animals. Hopefully you'll be able to find ways to channel their instincts into less harmful outlets, or come up with creative solutions for how to stop them from gaining access to the animals they want to hunt.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happah10 at 10/28/17 03:02:00

    Dogs are predators and chickens are prey. You have to keep them separate.

    Of course not all breeds act on their impulses. I have one dog that would get on fine with small critters and another dog that is hard wired to chase and destroy critters. But you never know when their inner wolf is going to come out when the opportunity presents itself. They are descended from wolves after all.

    True story...
    Shortly before i went vegan one of my dogs captured a rabbit, as he has many times before when he was younger and faster. They die but it is not a violent gruesome death. They just seem to die of a heart attack without any punctures to the skin even. I typically leave them outside of the gate for wild scavengers to help themselves. Vultures and coyotes namely. This time I decided I would try to harvest meat from the rabbit myself. Long story short, i couldn't go through with it. Couldn't even bring myself to skin the thing. That's when it hit me that if i can't skin the rabbit then I have no business eating the rabbit and the rest is history.

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    Posted by ForestNymph at 10/29/17 06:22:29

    uh....carnivores kill other animals...being upset with your dog for being a carnivore doesn't seem very "vegan" to me...I honestly don't get when vegans don't understand that veganism is for humans....veganism is a human choice and responsibility, it's not about making your dog or cat into a person and forcing them to take responsibility for human factory farms and animal testing and environmental destruction...I know you're only 16 so that's why you're not really clear on this intellectually....but, as someone who embraces both the science of ecosystems, food webs, and happens to have a deep abiding love of large predatory carnivores (mountain lions, tigers, bears) as well as having done a lot of work with feral and sheltered cats....I'm just staggered at vegans who don't get that only humans can be's like Mark Twain said, "only mankind has the ability to blush, as he is the only species who has a reason to do so."

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Wren24 at 01/14/18 13:58:36

    I believe Tots put it very eloquently. I have two dogs whose natural instinct is to herd other animals. They chase bunnies and squirrels constantly but it has never occurred to me that this was wrong.
    Dogs are not the same as humans, they simply follow their natural instinct. We follow veganism for moral, ethical and environmental reasons which is incomprehensible to a dog. We cannot punish our dogs for doing what is natural to them. That would be like punishing a lion for hunting an antelope.
    Overall you just need to take the responsibility for protecting both your dogs and the critters they’re attacking.

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    Posted by Mountainmystic at 01/16/18 21:52:12

    I agree with Forest Nymph. Love the avatar cat image she has in her profile. Veganism is a human choice. I hate to see my cats catch and eat moles, mice, and birds. I feel bad for the rodents and birds and their life is shortened in an instant. They have as much right as I do to live on Earth. We can't humanize animals and think that they can be vegans. And we all make choices. Our cats and dogs and all wild animals do the same, whether consciously or by instinct.

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