The misfortune of hunting dogs

By Linda Sexton | May 16, 2014
Photo by: Linda Sexton This is Buck. A fine Walker Hound who was lucky enough to make it out of the shelter to adoption.

It is a sad truth that if you are born a hunting dog in Haywood County, your chance of having a normal lifespan is very small. I am not talking about the few good hunters who cherish their dogs, feed and house them well, give them the needed medications for wellness — including heartworm preventative — and treat them as valued members of their family.

I am referring to the statistics for 2013 of hounds turned into the Haywood County Animal Shelter.

This spring I went to the shelter to look at the numbers. Here is what I found:

— Black and tan, 6 out of 11 euthanized, 54.5 percent

— Blue Ticks, 9 out of 11, 81.8 percent

— Fox hounds, 8 out of 9, 88.8 percent

— Hounds, 63 out of 112, 56.3 percent

— Hound mixes, 22 out of 85, 25.8 percent

— Plotts, 11 out of 25, 44.0 percent

— Red Bones, 5 out of 17, 29.4 percent

— Red Ticks, 4 out of 8, 50.0 percent

— Walkers, 29 out of 41, 70.7 percent

— Walker mixes, 11 out of 12, 91.6 percent

For comparison, all dogs euthanized totaled 453.

Removing Dachshunds from list, a total at 439 houndds were turned in with 181 euthanized. That’s a 41 percent euthanization rate.

In a civilized community, how does this happen?  One person turned in 19 hounds, another turned in 14 hounds and another turned in six hounds. Some folks just leave them in the side pen so there is no record of who brought these animals in. Often the dogs are in poor condition, underweight, dirty and fearful.

As residents of Haywood County, your tax dollars are being spent to house, feed and then euthanize these hound dogs. Your landfill is the repository of plastic bags of dead dogs. Can the hunters of this county apply pressure on the members of their clubs to do better by their dogs? If so, I would think they would have already done it. This is not a hidden fact of which they are not aware. It is beyond time for our lawmakers to take a stand on behalf of these dogs.

Let’s figure out a way for these animals to be cared for in a humane manner.  Hunting is a heritage in Haywood County, but it should not be a death sentence to be born a hunting dog.