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jillian
 jillian
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April 13, 2007 11:32 pm  

I know of hard core animal rescuers in the states that sometimes resort to "dognapping." Even with all the authorities there are in the states sometimes nothing can be done to take a dog out of the situation besides removing it. I find myself fantasizing about dognapping here on the island and I'll express it to someone and sometimes people are all about it and other times people tell me it could mean my dogs could be poisoned. I've even had someone tell me if I were to call in the shelter, a more legit action, my dogs would be poisoned. Is this true? I get so disheartened sometimes feeling like there is nothing I can do to help some dogs other than sit back and watch them suffer else I risk the safety of my home.


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Trade
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April 13, 2007 11:44 pm  

I know of a kidnapped dog who got cured of her heartworms & is now living the life of luxury. 🙂 I wouldn't do it, I don't think. I nearly grabbed a dog who was constantly having litters of puppies & looked like death warmed over. I was going to take her in & get her spayed & send her home because I didn't think the owner would even notice & at least the poor thing wouldn't keep having puppies. Unfortunately I found out the dog belonged to a lady cop so that could have been a real hassle for me.

How would the people you're talking about know you had called the Shelter? They won't tell. Call the Shelter & ask what they can do. I'm not sure of what they're able to do now & whether the government allows them to step in. They can at least tell you who to call in the government (Agriculture?)


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jillian
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April 13, 2007 11:56 pm  

The first instance when I wanted to call the shelter I was living in a very local neighborhood and so people told me because I was the only white person in the neighborhood they would assume it was me and poison my dogs. It was my neighbor and they had a dog tied up outside that cried all the time, had no shelter from the rain, and wasn't always fed. I was told the shelter couldn't even do all that much. I guess it's okay for a dog to be chained as long as it has water and shelter. In this case because there was no shelter the shelter would come, talk to the people and give them a week to change the situation. I was so scared to do anything I never did, and was miserable for months until one day the dog wasn't there anymore.

I'm in a similar situation again, a different neighborhood, but I still feel stuck and unsure of the safest way to proceed. The dog has shelter and possibly water so it seems the shelter can't do anything. But t's misery for me, being a dog lover, seeing and listening to, in this case, a young animal chained and crying. I know it's a different culture, and mostly I don't want to interfere, but it's hard for me to do nothing. I feel like I'm taking part, in a way.


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Trade
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April 14, 2007 12:13 am  

I hate it too. I know how badly you must feel. The Shelter wants to do more but their hands are tied to a point also. Are you friendly with the people at all?


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STT Resident
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April 14, 2007 4:15 am  

Jillian, on which island do you reside?

Your post is rather obscure in a sense because you say that you "were told" that if you reported animal abuse your own dogs would be poisoned.

Maybe you should cease listening to that which you are "told" and do what's right where your heart is concerned. Major comprehensive animal cruelty laws were enacted in the USVI just two years ago after a very long and hard struggle encompassing many years of struggle.

Me and many others, even before these laws were enacted, went out on a limb and over many years saved many animals. Your target is dogs. For others it's cats, horses, donkeys. Oh, I could wax eloquently ad nausea but it's bedtime.

However, and if you really do want to make a difference. you should become involved to the extent that at least you know what's going on. Fretting in the back seat worrying about whether or not your dogs might be poisoned while that little pup is mewling and crying? Enough, I gone!


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jane
 jane
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April 14, 2007 6:08 am  

Seconded - do the right thing. Report the abuse - you could be that litle dog's only hope. Abusers rely on people being too apathetic, too scared, too whatever. Just do it. Do the right thing.


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mell
 mell
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April 14, 2007 12:13 pm  

Hi Jillian,

I think Trade might be onto something. Are you friendly with the owners of the dog you are concerned about? If so (or if you become so) they might actually allow you to "help" them out with the animal.

I think you probably already realize that animals are not always mistreated because the owners are innately cruel people who are consciously abusing animals.

IMHO, it is often just a sad combination of lack of resources and simply not knowing any other way.

I am friendly with a family that allows me "help" them out with their animals. In fact, they are very happy to have my assistance. But I sensed that it was important for me to build the relationship with the humans first, before I was allowed to get close enough to help with the animals. (Building that relationship actually happened pretty quickly and easily too, BTW).

Anyhow, just an idea that may or may not work. I think you are very smart and perceptive to realize that you are in a completely different culture and that the situation needs to be approached carefully and in a well thought out way.

Whether you end up taking a subtle approach or needing to take the more direct approach as suggested by other posters, I think your caring and concern will make an important difference for some animals around here.

Good luck :)!


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Becky R
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April 14, 2007 4:23 pm  

The dog needs to be approached carefully, too, Mell - not just the situation. If you don't know what you're doing you could end up on the wrong end of dog teeth. Some of those dogs have been chained for a very long time and don't understand human contact, and there are also feral dogs on STX. Don't let your rescuer spirit overrule your common sense. A crying dog doesn't always mean that dog will understand you are trying to be helpful.

Report blatant abuse, do what is right - but also realize that your efforts may not be as appreciated as you would like. Read some past posts on the attitude of many islanders toward their dogs - it is not as you think of it in many respects. Even approaching people with hat in hand and attempting to educate could be misconstrued.

I realize you're trying to go around doing good, but it can backfire on you in a big way. Perhaps volunteering at the shelter and helping to place some of those dogs will help you understand more......an added benefit is you will get to know Moises, a wonderful local who works at the STX shelter and can explain more to you than I ever could, and can help you more than you ever dreamed. I hate to say it, but I don't think I'd want to dognap on an island where everyone knows everyone who knows someone....


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Anonymous
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April 14, 2007 9:44 pm  

Jillian,

Believe it or not, all West Indians who chain their dogs are not heartless people who believe that animals do not have souls. I know many families who have "working guard dogs" chained outside, and the dog is not abused contrary to an outsider's perception. The dogs are feed, given water, and have a doghouse for shelter. In many cases these guard dogs are chained because they will attack unwelcome visitors. The dogs are the family's security alarm or system so to speak. Having said that, I am not advocating that the dog that you are refering to is not abused. Animal abuse is a SERIOUS matter and should be addressed immediately when it occurs. However, I believe that the issue of abuse is viewed differently by locals and transplants.

I am able to view this post from two perspectives, being bicultural at this point. Most Americans have a different relationship with their dogs compared with the some islanders. To some islanders, dogs are outside animals that do not belong in the house. This view is not wrong or right, just different. On the other hand, some Americans anthromorphosize their pets believing them to be children or a family member. Again this is not wrong or right, just different.

Becky R gave you a good suggestion about volunteering and learning more.

AS a disclaimer, I DO NOT support animal abuse of any kind. As a West Indian, I wanted to add a different cultural perspective.

As a side note, cows are holy sacred animals that are considered "pets" in Hindu religion. On the other hand, in American culture it's American's favorite food, beef.


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Linda J
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April 14, 2007 10:08 pm  

At any rate, trying to stealdognap a dog can get you shot.


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Betty
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April 14, 2007 10:15 pm  

Keeping a dog chained outside 24/7 is absolutely dog abuse. If you want a dog get a fence. I have no problem with working dogs, but working dogs are valued animals and are treated as such and not as a neglected creature left on a chain day in and day out with little human interaction. A valued trained work animal is just that. A trained animal must be worked with daily to remained trained. A animal that will attack anyone once it is off of its chain is a badly abused animal.


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Trade
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April 15, 2007 10:04 am  

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! Thanks, Johnnycake for your perspective.


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Jeff Kruse
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April 16, 2007 7:51 pm  

Offer to buy the dog. It might help.


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STT Resident
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April 16, 2007 8:13 pm  

Jeff Kruse - are you speaking from experience or just hurling a zinger out here? Just asking...


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GariAnnTX
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April 16, 2007 8:38 pm  

Maybe you can approach the situation in that you are trying to help. Maybe they are busy and you could offer to help keep water and food for the dog, build (or buy) it a dog house, etc.

Dogs are pack animals, and in most cases, they want to be with their pack (human family). It's not natural for them to be changed up outside, alone, in the elements.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Thanks for being a concerned person!


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STT Resident
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April 16, 2007 9:00 pm  

Basic suggestions are all well and good but I would absolutely dissuade any newbie from approaching a local dog/animal ower under any circumstances and under any guise suggesting that his or her dogs might benefit from some "help."

The Humane Society on STT - and I'm sure their conterparts on STX and STJ are well-equipped to deal with concerns and the newly enacted VI laws pertaining to animal cruelty laws are now - finally - legally protective.


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GariAnnTX
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April 16, 2007 9:08 pm  

I only meant if she got to know them, since they are her neighbors after all. I wouldn't suggest going up to strangers willy-nilly. Though I've done it and not had trouble. Though I don't know what the feeling is there, so it could be different.


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