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‘These Murdering Pair of Mutts’
Ishmael on the Yuppie Invasion of Rural America
“Here's a story for you before I forget again.”
“Back in my teens and early 20s, people were moving in from the city and buying up farm property along the foothills. These were major wintering areas for Elk and Mule Deer. They would let their dogs run free.
“In February and March the snow would get a crust on it. The Deer, usually does and fawns, would break through and were easy prey for the predators, snow being three to four feet deep. Some of the dogs would develop a taste for venison. They would kill one and move on to the next like it was a sport.
“The old game warden couldn't keep up with the work load, and I had young legs, so any problem dogs were assigned to Shayne and I. We would get up above the deer early in the morning before the sun warmed up the snow and hunt dogs. The dogs would show up about the time the crust would thaw. Remember the leash law was enforced then, big game and livestock were protected.”
“One city savage had these murdering pair of mutts. He had paid, according to his bragging, 500 dollars a piece for them. Of course they never left his property. Well it was sure fun leaving them dead for the buzzards—1000 dollars of dog meat, laying next to a bunch of deer they had killed. But the thing that stays in my mind, was the domestic dogs killed more viciously than coyotes, reminds me of civilized humans.”
Robert E. Howard had his Conan character say something like this in most of the stories he wrote on this subject of civilization versus barbarism. Edgar Rice Burroughs made similar observations through his Tarzan character. My idea is that feral humans are more vicious than undomesticated types because they carry more fear, and less knowledge, of aggression, and yet live in a society suffused in—indeed based on—aggression. As far as human-on-human cruelty, ritualized—not personal, but tribal—torture is a primal feature in some warlike societies, that does offer a caveat to this observation.
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