June 29, 2009
Normally, every day is a good day on Beech Mountain. We are blessed with good weather, even if it's raining. We live among the various creatures that are offspring of those that lived here when only the Cherokee shared their spaces. We have been entrusted to care for this area and keep it as pristine as we found it. We have failed. We have paved our roads and parking areas beyond what it takes to accomodate business patrons and our downtown area now appears to have more asphalt than green spaces.
The developers of this mountain envisioned a place where man could play and live in a natural mountain setting, in harmony with those creatures already here. It is inevitable that one of those creatures may be hit by a car or attacked by a predator or suffer from an accident that could not have been prevented. We could prevent much of this by taking it slow and enjoying the scenery and not put the creatures in jeopardy by barreling around corners and down streets to get somewhere 30 seconds earlier.
We could also have prevented the death of an innocent fawn this morning if the owner of the dogs, that attacked and caused this small creature such trauma that it died, had not simply opened his door to let his dogs run the mountain while he left for work but walked them, instead, and kept them penned or inside until he could return to walk them again. There is no leash law on Beech Mountain. However, there is a town ordinance that says all domestic animals must be under the control of their owners. Most people abide by this ordinance and the others which have been put into place to protect us, our properties and our mountain...including all inhabitants. Today was a sad day. Because one person has decided it is easier for him to ignore our ordinances and let his dogs roam free every day, a very small creature's life was cut short almost before it began. It never had a chance. A couple walking their dog...in accordance with the ordinance...came across two dogs sitting in the middle of the road and saw the fawn behind the dogs. The fawn was still breathing but not moving. They asked what they could do and I called Leslie Hayhurst, founder of Genesis Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Leslie did not hesitate and immediately came to the location, gently assessed the damage and took the fawn to her hospital by Buckeye Lake. She placed the fawn on a heating pad and covered her with a blanket to try to bring her out of shock, caused by the dogs grabbing this tiny animal by the rear and shaking it violently. The damage to the little fawn was bad but not life threatening. However, the damage needed to be cleaned and sutured as soon as possible. The first step was getting her to recover from the shock. She never did.
These dogs will be allowed to run free tomorrow, as they have every day prior to today, unless something is done about it. Our ordinances need to be enforced to assure our quality of life, as well as the quality and quantity of life of those around us. One was not so lucky. With many tiny fawns roaming our streets, when will these dogs kill again? For my part, I plan on calling the Watauga County Humane Society if it happens again and have them picked up. This is not the first time these dogs have caused problems but maybe we can save some of our wildlife if we prevent it from happening again.