Another Dog Kill

We saw the beginning of this kill.  A small dog, probably a terrier, stood frozen in the grass by the west side picnic area, its eyes locked on a ground squirrel a few feet from the path where we walked.  No leash, no apparent owner in sight. The squirrel scrambled across the path toward the small wooded rise to the west.  The dog raced after it.  We walked on.  An hour later I returned by the same path and saw the dead squirrel lying on its back, legs in the air.  A female.  Crows flew low, checking it out.

There is arguably still an overpopulation of ground squirrels in the park.  That happens because people feed them.  But is it a solution for people to let their dogs kill them?  Misplaced charity on the one hand.  Negligent bloodshed on the other.  That darling furry pet, let loose, turns into a hunter and killer.

Sometimes the victim is a rabbit.  Sometimes a Burrowing Owl.  Are the ground squirrels less entitled to their lives in the park than rabbits or birds?

Is it OK for dogs to have their fun by hunting and killing other animals?  Is that what public parks are for?

Is this what we want to see — what we want our children to see — in the park?

It seems to me we could do better.  Don’t feed the squirrels.  Keep dogs on leash.  That is the law.  It’s also what our better angels tell us.


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