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Dog Eat Dog

You hear phrases like "dumb as a dog" all the time, but truth is, animals are far smarter than we give them credit for.

And they can smell an asshole from a mile away...

Dog Eat Dog by Bruce Harris




“I’m sorry, Cindy, we’ll have to put her to sleep. There’s no other way.”

Little Cindy Saunders was devastated. Death was a foreign term. “Venganza has never done anything like this before. Honest. She’s a good dog. She wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Cindy’s parents stood behind her, reached their hands out and placed them lovingly on her shoulders. “It’s okay, dear.” Cindy’s father turned to Dan Jenkins, the police officer in charge. “Is there any alternative? I mean, maybe we can send the dog for training or give her medication or something? Anything, other than putting her to sleep?”

Jenkins rubbed rough hands together. “I’m afraid not, Mr. Saunders. Your dog mauled and killed a man. We have a number of witnesses who saw the unprovoked attack and will swear to it. A few tried to intervene, but your Venganza was ready to attack them as well, so they backed off. We have no alternative but to put Venganza down so this horrific event will never happen again. I’m sorry, but there is nothing else I can do. Tomorrow, at noon, the veterinarian will be here and that will be it. I’m truly sorry.”

“But, it was an accident! cried Cindy. I know it! Venganza never would have done anything like this!”

*

“Steven Hubbard. That name sounds familiar.”

“What?” asked Brian Shields. 

“Hubbard. It says here he was murdered yesterday, killed by a German Shepherd named Venganza. Poor bastard was attacked and chewed to bits out of the clear blue at an outdoor café in front of a shitload of people. Steven Hubbard. The name sounds familiar. Isn’t he the guy who adopted Protégé?”

Brian Shields showed interest. He looked up from his paper. He was a volunteer at the Florida Palm Beach Greyhound Adoption Services (FPBGAS), the agency responsible for placing retired greyhound racing dogs into loving homes. “Yup. I’m scheduled to meet with Hubbard this morning to follow up and see how things are going with Protégé. You sure the guy’s dead?”

“Mauled to death. Can you believe that?”

Protégé had run her last race three months prior. She was a very successful greyhound, making thousands for her owner and trainer. It was seldom the dog didn’t finish within the top three, but after years of racing, she was finally consigned to FPBGAS. Shields remembered when Steven Hubbard had selected the dog and took her home for adoption. Hubbard was insistent upon this particular greyhound. “What a coincidence. I’m going out to his home to check on Protégé. Now that Hubbard is dead, I guess we’ll have to take back Protégé and try to find her another home.”

The Florida sun baked down on Shields. He knocked on the door of the small bungalow the late Steven Hubbard had listed as his home address. Nothing. No sounds, no signs of life. He called out, Protégé! Are you in there?” Again nothing. Shields walked around back. The screen door was torn and hung precariously by one hinge. He knocked and shouted, but still there was no response. Shields stepped over to the kitchen window. He peered in, but couldn’t see a thing. He removed a pocketknife, cut the screen, and hoisted himself up and into Hubbard’s kitchen. A half-eaten can of baked beans hosted a fly convention. Shields called out as he made his way into the living room. He checked the bedroom and the bathroom. He walked into the small den and stopped short. There, hanging by her neck, was a gutted Protégé. The poor dog had been executed. Shields nearly fainted. He made his way to a desk and sat down. There, he found racing programs with numerous markings and notes. The one that caught his eye was the program for October 1, Protégé’s final race. She was the 2-1 favorite, but finished fourth, out of the money. Shields read the pencil notation next to Protégé’s name:

$1,000 across the board on this bitch—easy money.

*

The lethal injection had been prepared. The needle was inches from Venganza. Brian Shields burst into the room and screamed, “Wait!”


Bruce Harris is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson: ABout Type (available at www.batteredbox.com).