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The Execution of Moca

  The shot rang out clearly in the early evening. We waited for a second, but it never came, and we knew it had been easy and it was over; MOCA was dead.


We had locked her up ahead of her execution so that she would not run away, not because she was afraid of being shot, but because she was afraid in general and would run off immediately after we fed her. We wanted it to be a quick and painless death, and for that, we needed her to be constrained and not run off. 

  We had fed her a good meal of eggs, milk and dog food with a sedative mixed into the eggs. It would make her more relaxed and it worked; the man who came to shoot her in the head only needed to put the muzzle of the gun through the bars of the cage, pull the trigger and it was over. That was the single shot that signaled the end of Moca’s life. It was over instantly, she had not been worried or agitated; as deaths go it was easy.

MOCA had been biting people, actually only women, for over a month before we had to put her down. Kullu women walk up to the higher fields to harvest grass on the steep hillsides for their cows. Coming down, bent over with their heavy loads they would be attacked and bitten from behind on the legs, sometimes leaving a sizable wound and people had begun to throw stones at her which only seemed to make the situation worse as she grew more and more confused and scared and all of this only seemed to cause her to become more aggressive. For one reason or another, she always liked me, perhaps it was because I was a man or perhaps because I was kind to her or that I was unafraid of her as I was of nearly all dogs. Whatever the reason, that is how I was able to get her to go into the cage for her last meal; she trusted me.

  There was a middle aged Kullu Valley couple who had been looking after MOCA as her owner had returned to the west for several months and left her in the care of the woman, D, and her husband. They were good people, but low caste, and because they were feeding an out-of-control and aggressive dog in a small Himalayan village, they had awakened a lot of animosity towards themselves as the dog would usually bite women who walked the narrow mountain path that went past the house where we lived. Several women had been bitten so badly that they were unable to walk for a week and they were subsequently unable to gather the grass from the steep hillsides necessary to feed their cows and sheep, threatening their subsistence lifestyle. D had been yelled at and her husband as well and they did not know what to do. Even though they fed Moca, they were unable to capture the dog and leash him as they were afraid of the dog biting them, and on top of this the dog belonged to the western woman who had employed them and they had been entrusted to feed and take care of it.

  This is when I stepped in; I was friends with all the parties and even the dog. In addition, I had several years ago purchased a large animal cage in a failed attempt to hold, one by one, the many wild dogs who lived in our small Himalayan valley and roamed from house to house for food, company and closeness with humans; I bought the cage because we  wanted to hire a veterinarian to neuter the males and spay the females in an attempt to limit the population of dogs in our valley and to do that we needed to catch and hold the dog.

  Three years ago a mountain lion had killed four of our local dogs that used to sit on our porch. The large cat came down from the higher elevations of the mountains all around us and attracted the attention of the dogs. The dogs immediately picked up the scent of the lion and the whole pack took off and began to chase him, barking excitedly. The cat ran up the mountain in back of us, plunging deeper into the forest and when he had reached a certain point turned on the dogs and began to kill them one-by-one; four dogs were killed and the rest fled. We found the bones of the slaughter. Apparently this is a technique which these large cats use all over the Himalayan region.

I understood the technique and had used it to kill Moca; I led her into the cage and then had her killed. I did not wish her to suffer; I did not pull the trigger, but I misled her for the purpose of killing her, just like the mountain lion did to those dogs.

  Two times every year, the female dogs in our valley go into heat and male dogs come from miles around attracted to their scent. In an orgy of fighting amongst the males and sex with the females, the valley is filled with hyper-excited dogs and exhausted females; then the hormonal excitement begins to lessen and one by one the male dogs give up their heated pursuit of the females, the wandering males go back to their usual haunts, the fighting ceases and soon the females begin to swell up with puppies and in about two months the mothers find a safe protected spot and have their puppies.

  I lived in this relatively natural environment on the very edge of the wild untouched Himalayan mountain range, it was quickly obvious that so many puppies would be born twice every year that they would become nuisances to human beings who lived there because of their sheer numbers, barking and fighting for space and food, especially during the wintertime when many of the westerners who feed the dogs leave the area for warmer climes and many of the dogs die from exposure to the weather, especially the younger or weaker ones. 


It is said that in seven years, one female cat and her offspring will produce 370,000 kittens! In this small Himalayan valley I realized how farmers throughout history had dealt with this situation of population explosion as it came up again and again with many of their domesticated animals; they killed them off and ate them as food or killed them just to reduce or eliminate the burden of their  numbers. It has been a well-kept secret for of course, who does not love puppies, kittens, calves or lambs? But killing is what has been done for hundreds if not thousands of years. 

  One might say that this is cruel, but I would ask you to consider the death suffered by the four dogs who chased the mountain lion up into the forest who were killed in a terrible struggle and probably eaten while still somewhat alive, to the sedated and easy death of MOCA who we went out of our way to relax, comfort and gentle before we killed her. This is the difference between the Law of the Jungle when enacted by wild beasts and Dharma when practiced by man. The victim dies in both cases, one in great agitation and pain, the other with no agitation and no pain. 

Perhaps some would say, ‘Why did you not neuter the males or sterilize the females? We tried. This is India and we lived in a small mountain community and although we tried to get a veterinarian to come to our small valley and perform the operations, none of them ever showed up to do so. I bought a large cage to help hold the dogs after the operation, but never utilized it until we killed MOCA.

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