When you live in a rural area with a portion of the population being transient, one of the issues you have to deal with is packs of dogs.
We can hear coyotes howling around us at night - they really set our cocker spaniel off - and we even saw a coyote running right past our sheep pen at our last property, so we're cautious about them, but not fearful. If we get a coyote 'problem', it will start small - one goat lost, at the most two - and then we'll increase precautions beyond what we already do.
If we get a dog pack problem, though, it doesn't start small. You can lose your entire herd in as little as ten minutes with dogs killing for fun and bloodlust. The nearest dairy has had serious issues with dog packs and has had to take lethal action to stop them. Even when they know the owners and contact them, the owners don't take better care of them and they'll be back the next day. If the dairy can catch them, they take them to the shelter, if they can't catch them, they have to shoot them. The two nastiest breeds they've had to deal with are pit bulls (we live in an area with a lot of dog fighting) and - wait for it - - - chihuahuas. The chihuahuas run the baby calves right through fences where their necks get broken.
All of this to say, we may have a dog pack problem soon. Two days ago I looked out the window and saw two pit bulls and another huge dog pacing past our chicken coop. I ran out to yell at them and the pit bulls, obviously experienced trespassers, took off with their tails tucked in. The big dog, however, turned and looked at me, wagging its tail. Realizing that he was clearly new to running with a pack, I changed my tactics and started sweet talking him, hoping that I could find his owner and keep him from getting hooked on a life of crime.
He came running over, very excited to see a friendly face, but he had no collar and no tag. And he was big.
And he is a puppy.
Very sweet boy, very lazy, very friendly.
I tied him to the porch and called my husband to have him ask around and see if anyone was missing a St. Bernard type dog. A few hours later he called back saying that no-one knew who the dog belonged to. Oh, and "Don't feed it. That will make it stick around." I told him that I was not about to keep a dog who didn't have an owner coming to get it tied up without any food. When he got home from work, I took off for a doctor's appointment. When I got home from work I found a big puppy laying down in the middle of our living room. "Ainsley's good at asking," was all my husband said.
Now I ask you, as impartial readers, which is more likely to make a dog stick around - giving it a bowl of food or letting it in your home? Hmm?