This morning, as my son was upstairs changing his clothes for day camp, I suddenly heard barking dogs in my alley. From the sound, i could tell that at least one of them was the neighbor’s pit bull, who while charming and affectionate, is also good at getting out of the yard and roaming the block. I worry about her because while she’s a good dog (generally), she doesn’t have an identifying collar and one of these days is going to be picked up by animal control. But there was another dog barking too: they’ve recently adopted a second bull, also friendly and affectionate, but he hadn’t figured out how to get out of the house.
Until today, as I discovered.
When I stepped outside to see what the commotion was about, i saw both dogs in the alley having a tug of war over something. When I looked closer I could see it was one of the most recent batch of feral kittens that live in my yard and my other neighbor’s yard. There was another one cowering behind some lumber.
“Get!” I began to yell at the dogs. “Get out of here, GO HOME!” The male dog looked at me curiously: he tried to obey, then turned back to the kitten, then turned back to me, then back to the kitten. Sam, my son, stepped out of the house.
“Kiddo, go back inside,” I said. “The dogs are being very naughty and have killed a kitten. I don’t want you to see this.”
“I wanna see!” Sam said, and since he wouldn’t go back inside, I brought him along as I marched up the street to knock on my neigbhbor’s door. As we passed heir yard, i noticed another dead cat, this one full-grown, in THEIR alley, and ANOTHER dead cat in their yard.
When I knocked, a bunch of kids answered. “Could you get your mom or dad?” I asked. “The dogs are both out, and they’re eating kittens.”
“I’ll go get her,” said one, and the bunch rushed off. A little girl remained. “We went to a bwock pahty yestahday,” she said. “they had a BOUNCE!”
“Oh yeah? That must have been fun,” I replied as I waited. A few minutes later the kids came rushing out to get their dogs. As we walked back to my place, I could see two dead kittens on the sidewalk in front of my house, just bitten to shit. Along with the dead kitten up the alley, that made five dead cats in one day.
Now, if you ask me about pit bulls, i will tell you that they are some of the best dogs around. Great with kids and adults; highly trainable; smart. Many, including the two my parents owned, are great with cats: my parents’ bulls raised two abandoned kittens as if they were dogs. But some of them… not so good with the cats. That’s why I reluctantly don’t let my cats out of the house. Not here in southwest.
So that was my morning: shoveling dead kittens into a garbage can.