Wild Cats and Dogs
Nature Bulletin No. 119 June 7, 1947
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
William N. Erickson, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation
WILD CATS AND DOGS
One afternoon not long ago, while searching on a steep wooded
hillside for some uncommon plants reported to be growing there, we
noticed an automobile stop on the highway below. A door opened, then
slammed shut, and the car went on. Left behind were two bewildered
whimpering mongrel pups.
It was a cruel thing to do. If they were not killed or seriously crippled
by passing vehicles they probably would have died from starvation.
Yet, hundreds of people get rid of surplus pups and kittens in this
fashion. Others, moving to a new location or going on vacation, will
either walk off and leave a dog or cat to shift for itself, or dump it in
the forest preserves. It would be far kinder to chloroform them. A
telephone call would bring a truck from an agency whose business it is
to pick up and dispose of the unwanted animal.
of these town-bred animals are able to find food and shelter. Few
survive. But those that do, and those that run away to become wild, are
the worst enemies of wildlife. Our rangers shoot them on sight. Dogs
are not permitted in the preserves except on leash. Wild cats prey upon
fledgling birds and rabbits and squirrels. Some become very large and
powerful. We killed one battle-scarred cat that weighed 18 lbs.
Wild dogs usually hunting in pairs or in packs of three or four, become
cunning vicious killers that live upon quail, pheasants, rabbits,
squirrels and other wildlife. Some of them interbreed with the coyotes
in the Palos preserves. Some become infected with rabies and transmit
it to other dogs permitted to roam. They are always lean, hungry and
vicious but so furtive and swift they are rarely seen.
If you have an unwanted cat or dog, or one you must get rid of, use the
telephone if you are unable to destroy it yourself or if you want to find
it a good home. In most large towns there is a "dog catcher" and a
pound. In Chicago, as in every big city, there are also a Humane
Society, an Anti-Cruelty Society, and animal-shelter societies that are
devoted to the job of finding homes for such animals or will humanely
dispose of them.
To abandon them is a contemptible cowardly crime.
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Update: June 2012