When my mom was a kid, the family dog Spot would accompany my grandfather on the El on the forty-minute ride to the Chicago Loop. When Grampa got off, he’d ask the conductor to let Spot ride all the way back and drop him at the last stop. In the old televised “Our Gang Comedy” movies, you’d see dogs like Spot that chased after cars and sunk their teeth into the thin rubber tires. Spot did that too, and got his teeth stuck in a tire and spun around a few times before getting unstuck.
Dogs still ran free when I was a kid, which is how a neighborhood dog roamed over and jumped our back fence – two different times – to mate with our dog. Residents got tired of stray dogs jumping into yards, pooping on their lawns and running in packs, so leash laws were born. They were such a new phenomenon that things like the following could happen: A woman on a walk used a plastic baggy to pick up after her dog and put it inside an old purse slung over her shoulder. She reported to the police that some guy running past her snatched the purse and added, “I’d like to have seen his face when he opened it!”
Leash laws might have eliminated an inter-species war that started in rural India when a pack of dogs killed a baby monkey. Obviously, monkeys think their babies are as cute as we do and launched a war on dogs. They proceeded to kidnap 250 puppies, carry them to tall buildings, cliffs and trees and drop them to their deaths. And because people think puppies are cute, villagers in Majalgaon tried to liberate them which made the monkeys target people next. Some men even fell – were pushed? – from tall buildings while trying to save puppies. One broke his leg rescuing his screaming puppy in the process of being carried off by a monkey. As this animal war raged, villagers asked for help from the forest department who, after a day of trying, were unable to capture any monkeys.
In nearby Lavool, in a week-long rampage monkeys finished massacring dogs and started going after children walking to school. Something similar had occured in Karnataka earlier in the fall, when villagers contacted the forest department to capture a monkey seen roaming school premises. This monkey was captured and transported to the Balur forest, about fourteen miles away. But it jumped onto the back of a passing truck and hitched a ride back to the village. It was later re-captured and taken deeper into the forest.
Researchers of monkeys say they’re known to be vengeful. But these incidents seem more tactical than mere revenge. They might be protests against human dominance. How better to get back at humans than attack their hearts? People love puppies and some of the kidnapped ones were their beloved pets. Even more beloved are children who were next on the monkeys’ hit list.
On the most popular animals top ten list, monkeys are number ten, dogs are number one and children are in a whole different class. In other words, this monkey business is not going to boost monkey popularity. They should know better than to mess with humans who are way better at starting stupid wars than monkeys are.
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