Letters to the Editor 1/15/2003

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 3, 2003

Has lost dogs to hunters

Dear Editor:

Webster's dictionary describes a Sportsman as one who acts with fairness and respect for one's opponent and graciousness in winning or losing. Based on an article I read in your paper yesterday, I'd say these words are contradictory and incongruous with regard to the "Sportsman" who considers another man's pet as expendable at his will.

Over the past few years I have lost six dogs. I am told they are being poisoned or shot. I admit that my dogs were allowed to run free. Having a thousand acres at my disposal and trust in my fellow man, I felt comfortable allowing them to enjoy the freedom to run and play.

Four of these dogs were strays, one was given to me by a dog hunter when it was three days old and abandoned by its mother.

I raised her with a bottle and grew to love her as most people would a child; the other was a cattle dog I purchased. All these animals were loving family pets whose worst crime would have been licking someone to death. They didn't understand the concept of hunting with men. If they had, I'm sure they would not have left my property.

I have solicited help from various agencies including The Department of Conservation, The Covington County Sheriff's Department, Crimestoppers, and WSFA-TV. Fingers were pointed and friendships lost and despite my efforts, this heinous killing continues. Just last week I lost another sweet and loving pet.

I am disturbed and filled with disbelief that any member of the Department of Conservation or any other governing agency would give approval to someone to randomly kill innocent dogs and "Keep quiet" about it. If so, then it is no wonder my efforts to stop these despicable crimes have been in vain.

Over the years my property has been used freely by many hunters without permission or regard to my rights as a landowner. I have picked up their garbage and repaired erosion caused by their presence. I have returned many of their dogs. Some who once hunted with dogs but now find it offensive were some of the owners I returned them to. Today my land is posted and I allow no hunting (dogs are welcome). I am amused to see that hunters whose land borders mine have set up tree stands and hunting houses along my property line, taking advantage of the winter grazing planted for cattle. Surely they don't come onto my land to retrieve their "Kill," for they must know they are equally as unwelcome as my dogs seem to be to them.

Having grown up on a farm where cattle, hogs, horses, mules, and goats have been raised for many years, I can truthfully say we have never had an animal attacked by a dog but we have had cattle killed by bullets and even by an arrow once. I can understand that there are conditions in which unruly, vicious animals must be contained, but I do not understand the necessity to kill someone's harmless pet.

I'm in the process of building a large fenced area for my remaining three dogs to play in. In all probability one will escape sooner or later as there has never been a humanely built fence that can successfully contain a hound. So I will continue to live my life in fear that another of my pets will be murdered.

Not being a religious person I will not taunt God's ability to punish these vile offenders of nature, but if there is an afterlife, I can promise you my poor dead dogs will be biting their heels all the way into Hell where not a sip of water nor an ounce of sympathy awaits them.

Mira Walker

Carolina Community