Pack of downtown dogs killing area cats

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

NATCHEZ — A new gang in town has some pet owners worried.

Joey Gunning, of 816 State St., said on July 19 at approximately 12:30 a.m., he was awakened by a loud commotion on his front porch.

“I went running out and I saw a pack of (three) dogs, pretty much playing tug of war with one of my cats,” he said.

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The three dogs are believed to be responsible for killing at least seven and injuring at least two cats in the downtown Natchez area in the last week to 10 days, Humane Society Board Member Nan Garrison said.

Gunning described one of the dogs as short, about twice the size of a dachshund, with long, black hair. The second dog is reddish brown, he said, and it could possibly be a Golden Retriever mix.

“The third dog was the most aggressive,” he said. “I had the hardest time getting him off (of my cat).”

The third dog, which was also the smallest, Gunning said, is dark gray or black, and could possibly be some type of Labrador and Rottweiler mix. It had a bobbed tail and pointed ears, he said, and it seemed to be less than a year old.

Garrison said of the seven killings, there have been four on Washington Street, two on State Street and one on North Rankin Street.

The Humane Society and Natchez Animal Control have set up large, baited, humane traps downtown in hopes of catching the dogs and putting an end to the killings, she said.

“We just found out (these killings) have been happening,” Garrison said. “If we need to expand (the area with traps), I need people to call me and tell me where things have happened.”

Until the dogs are caught, people who live in the downtown area and own cats or small dogs are encouraged to keep their pets indoors, especially at night.

“It looks to me like (the dogs) are night prowlers,” Garrison said. “The earliest attack we’ve ever heard of was at midnight, and two of the attacks were at 5 a.m.”

Garrison said the dogs are most likely strays.

“I don’t know anybody who opens their door and lets their dog out at midnight,” she said.

If the dogs are spotted between the hours of 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday, people should call Animal Control at 601-442-6452. All other sightings should be reported to the Natchez Police Department at 601-445-5565 or to Garrison at her home number, 601-442-2156. If a specific area can be reported, she said, the Humane Society will likely move the traps to that area to increase the chances of catching the dogs.

“Cats are not a food source for dogs,” Garrison said. “I don’t know why they’re doing this. The big black dog has been seen in the north part of town before. There are some dogs that are just street smart — they may be OK dogs, but then when they get in a pack, they might develop a pack mentality.

“The thing that’s confusing to me is, where are they during the day?”