3 Weeks After The Blackout, Man’s New Vicious Enemy


A short story:

John had been taking up the rear while Steve about 200 yards ahead had been setting the pace while out on patrol.

Ever since the blackout had sent the world tumbling into chaos, their small rural community had banded together for resources and protection once they had realized the power wasn’t coming back any time soon.

It had been 3 weeks already and word was out that there had been an EMP attack

Several high altitude nuclear EMP detonations launched from 3 freighters just offshore – one on the west coast and two on the east coast – had knocked out electricity and electronic devices in much of the continental United States. At least that’s what Dave said, who was monitoring a battery operated shortwave radio which had survived the EMP damage.

He had kept the radio in a metal filing cabinet in the basement, which was electrically grounded to a cold water pipe – which had protected the radio from damage from the electro-magnetic pulse.

John knew what the outcome would entail, and it wasn’t pretty. In fact he knew it would be horribly bad. Fortunately for him and his small community of neighbors, they were not in a high population zone and would stand a better chance of making it through what was to come.

He thought about the people in a moderate size town several miles away – at least it wasn’t a city, but he knew that people there were beginning to starve. The stores were looted of all food after the first week and people were now walking out beyond their town to find others with food. He knew this because he and Steve had crossed their paths while out on patrol.

On this day, late in the afternoon as the sun began to transform the world below into that golden hour – when the shadows are longer and the colors are deep with yellows and orange, John was jolted into the here-and-now when he heard the shot. Then another.

It was Steve out in front. John could barely make out his shape in the glint of the sun, and there were shadows of shapes moving around him. Some of them moving closer. John started to run to help, and knew that this was bad. He could see Steve fall down as he began swinging his rifle at the objects that were apparently attacking him… Another shot.

It seemed like forever but as John closed the distance towards Steve, he saw them… a pack of dogs.

Grotesquely he could see one of them, what looked like a German Shepard, biting and chewing at Steve’s neck and another smaller (but just as viscous) dog tearing his leg.

As he closed the distance between them and was close enough, he dropped to one knee, aimed and began firing. The two that were on Steve ran off with the first report of his 308. There were at least half a dozen others that had been circling around Steve, and John managed to finish two of them as the rest ran off into the brush of the wooded edge.

He was stunned at what he saw. These were not wolves or coyotes, they were dogs!

Then it hit him. He realized that with all the chaos and lack of food, these dogs were starving and had probably been abandoned or let loose. Some of them had become feral and had reverted to their wild state, and were hunting to stay alive. He had never thought of that possibility. They were out there, forming packs, and would present a very real danger for all of them – whenever they were outside.


So, that was my short story segment which could potentially become a reality if things ever really get bad in a true SHTF collapse.

Imagine how many people have pet dogs. Lots! If people are starving, do you think the dogs will too? Unfortunately, yes. Some will die as they are too domesticated and won’t be able to find food for themselves. But others will hunt. It could become very dangerous in areas where there are high concentrations of people and dogs. Some of these dogs will revert to the wild and will kill for food. And that could be you…

…just another thing to think about


  1. I have read, previously, that once dogs are basically left to “go wild” they become quite crafty and vicious.

    1. Dogs are used to getting their food from humans. So when they are hungry, they will look to the nearest human for food. Unlike wolves, dogs are not afraid of people; that makes them more dangerous.

      Politicians wonder why anyone would need a magazine that holds 50 rounds. Probably not to shoot people. Unfortunately, it will be to shoot former pets.

      1. RE: 50-round magazines.
        Politicians would never acknowledge that the government may not be capable of providing everything the citizens need. Therefore, they cannot appreciate those that wish to be self-sufficient and those that think ahead to prepare for whatever may happen. Politicians need to maintain the illusion that with them, the country would collapse. We think about what would happen after a collapse regardless of the causes.

        1. True, politicians are vipers. When you ask local city councillors to add more street lights, fix potholes, make the city safer for seniors they can’t even do the basic stuff. I view politicians as self serving scum who have no regard for the population. Plus they are always fighting amongst themselves and each decade it gets worse. Even the police are crooks and are on the payroll of organised crime. One of the most dangerous and stupid things a citizen can do is to report suspected or knowledge of illegal drug dealing to the police. You will get on their corrupt database with your name and traceable address. They say crime stoppers was developed to encourage more reporting of crime – my guess is that it was developed to protect citizens from corrupt police who are in bed with the mob.

  2. Your exactly right Ken. If you cannot feed yourself what are you going to do with your dogs or other critters we call pets? I have been thinking about this problem for awhile. Packs will form quickly like gangs, they will gather more dogs as they go creating more chaos in a quickly retreating environment. They will be vicious and they will progress quickly back to their wild habits and traits. Not only will dogs be a problem but what about all the other critters we keep as pets? Snakes, Spiders, Lizards etc.. All dogs either two legged or four will need attention quickly. Packs of hungry dogs is not a good thing and they will be out there hungry looking for food.

  3. a pack is three or more – and they cannot be chased off as they have no fear -fire and water are good deterrants with dogs for scaring them off or breking up a dog fight . dropping an alpha male may help as theres no pecking order leadership for a minute at least . dogs make good food in asian countrys – get recipies :}

  4. scenarios like this are why I prep for my animals as much as myself
    minimum one year supply of food
    flea and tick meds etc

  5. As a young Private in the Army, I was attacked by a pack of wild dogs. We were on a mortar range, far from Main Post. The Platoon left for the evening when it became apparent that we would not fire all the ammo before dark, and we had no illumination rounds. We each had bullets for our M16A1 rifles, but our location in the middle of nowhere convinced us that we did not need to carry our weapons on our person. We built a fire. The flames prevented the pack from an all out assault. By the time we realized what what happening, we were surrounded. I can still see my rifle, leaning against a tree about 15-20 feet away. I knew that I was not fast enough to grab it and aim before the pack would pounce. My buddy, a big, tough cowboy, reached into the fire and grabbed a burning log. He whacked the first dog on the head, and the dog took off running, squealing from his dented, burned skull. This dog must have been the leader of the pack, because they all ran away after him. Decades later, I still have nightmares about it.

    1. And what lesson did this young private learn? Hopefully, just what you were taught in Basic Training… ALWAYS have your weapon within arms reach! (doesn’t matter if it’s in peace time in the US or in some foreign country during war , or TEOTWAWKI. I too learned this lesson the hard way. During basic, my M16 was 1 1/2 arms lengths away when a Butterbar (2nd Lt.) came up and drove it into the ground, muzzle first and then told me to ‘clean it’. From that point on I could always grab it without having to move. [but like my buddy said…’Better a Butterbar than a Drill Sergent’, who would have made a very loud and physical example out of me.]

  6. Trained working dogs are a benefit. They can herd, fetch, go to ground and kill vermin, alert and attack human predators. Untrained free-roaming dogs are a threat. Rabies challenge studies show that the vaccine is good for three years.

  7. it has just occurred to me another reason packs of dogs might be more of a danger than wild animals/we realize.

    these dogs will most likely have lived with people/in communities. this will give the dogs/packs a realtime working knowledge of people.

    -dogs even in regular times learn a lot about their families, they will carry this knowledge over
    -people usually are not as observant visually or hearing wise as dogs, certainly not smell / scent wise.

  8. After Katrina, New Orleans had a “wild” dog situation where all the abandoned dogs just packed up and roamed all over for food. I thought it was funny at first, all the different breeds all together, big and small, but after thinking about it I realized it could get dangerous fast. The ASPCA had bulk food drops all over the city which I’m sure helped them from looking to other sources for food, but the rats loved it even more. It didn’t take long at all for the dogs to “organize” for lack of a better term.

  9. Wild dogs seem quite likely after TSHTF. But I would eat a dog just as quickly as I would eat any non-game animal (like porcupines or raccoons). So hunt them and eat them. Brings new meaning to the term “dog food”.

    1. I agree with you Gone. If I see a pack of dogs roaming, I consider them fair game. I’m not as likely to shoot a single roaming dog however, but a pack should be considered dangerous and therefore should be considered both predator and prey.

  10. When I first moved to the country, thirty years ago, people knew I was a grouse hunter and asked me to shoot any feral dogs I saw; as they were packing up and attacking calves. Sure enough, when I am grouse hunting, I see the pack in the woods coming directly at me. I had been duck hunting earlier that day and hadn’t taken the plug out of my shotgun. All of a sudden three shells did not seem adequate.

    I opened my knife and set it on a dead-fall next to me; and as quickly as I could I disassembled the gun, removed the plug, and put in five shells. I felt much better but still nervous as the pack walked around both sides of me.

    I decided not to shoot as long as they didn’t attack; as there were more dogs than my five shots could have taken care of; and I didn’t feel like getting into a knife fight with whatever might have remained of the pack. We left each other alone. However, I will never forget the wild look on the faces of these former domestic animals.

    Another time I also had a pack move through my yard one day and was grateful that my young girls were not out playing in the yard. They moved thorough before I could find and load a gun. I have a much quicker defense system set up now. I called my neighbor to warn them the dogs were headed their way. They were grateful as they were able to get their pet dog inside just in time.

    Another time two feral dogs were growling at my young girls from the wind break as they were waiting for the school bus. I looked and did not see anything and thought they were imagining things; so I told them to get back outside and wait for the bus at the end of the driveway.

    Fortunately, I decided to double check and went out with them with my loaded gun; magazine loaded, but chamber empty. Sure enough I hear growling from the windbreak. I sent my girls to the house and then chased, what ended up being two feral dogs off my property. I got in my car and kept at them until I had driven them two miles away. They never did give me a clear shot.

    Another time there was a feral dog pack crossing the road going past my house. This was in the evening and I was driving in my truck. I noticed three neighbor dogs running with this pack. Including one that was quite small. This is when I realized that these same tail wagging friendly dogs I petted during the day had no problem packing up to chase game at night. People, please secure your dog at night. My neighbors were concerned about the safety of their dogs from this pack and were surprised when I told them that they were running with the pack.

    All has ended well in my encounters; but that is no guarantee in the future. So I am always vigilant; especially because I raise chickens and I used to raise goats. My girls are grown up now and I have two young grandsons that I would never leave out in my yard unattended.

    That is all that has happened in thirty years of country living, but I have no doubt that Ken’s scenario is exactly what would happen when the SHTF.

  11. A good dog is worth its weight in gold to me. But even good dogs go bad if they are hungry just like people. I love German shepherds.

    1. Dogs don’t go bad. Their breeding and temperment. A dog will do what it has to to survive. Their is no good or evil in that. I have 2 german shepherds and they will protect and defend my wife and if we should die they would probably starve and die next to us. If they got out they would do what they had to do to survive.

      1. Sorry to break it to you, but once you’re gone, your dogs see you as just another meal

  12. It would be very hard for me to shoot a dog, but, if they become feral, they become nuisance,(sp), at best, and dangerous at worst.

    We have had some feral dogs shot while chasing deer at our lease.
    Sad, but necessary.

    1. What’s the big deal about killing a dog? You sound like one of the hillbillies who go to court and try to keep their daaog from being put down after it has mauled the neighbor’s child. If a dog even threatens my child, the most animal control will have to do is put the dog in a bag.

    2. It sounds like Tom has a hard time pulling the trigger on dogs also. I won’t shoot a dog just for the sake of shooting something but I have no problem with killing wild dogs or dogs that attack me or my family or my livestock.

      I grew up on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi delta and a pack of wild dogs kept coming through and attacking my little sisters puppy, chasing my horse, and killing wild game. I looked out the window one morning and saw the pack, 13 dogs total, trotting down the road towards our house. I grabbed an M-1 carbine and a 30:06 and started banging away. I got most of them with the carbine and finished the rest off with the 06. I killed all but a beagle and a husky. I figured they were probably good dogs, just fell in with the wrong crowd.:-))

      The field hands took a tractor and trailer and collected dead dogs over a pretty wide area of the fields and dumped them in the garbage dump for the farm.

  13. Special pack dogs were used to hunt lions and tigers in Africa. A pack would surround a lion and dart in and nip the lion. The lion would take off and head for a tree. When the lion was in the tree the hunter would walk up and shoot it.
    A lion couldn’t outrun the dogs. If there was no tree the lion would eventually become exhausted. If cornered on the ground then the lion would attack the dogs – he might get one or two but ultimately would succumb to the pack.
    Hyena’s are pack dogs. They don’t bother attacking other predator animals directly. They just steal the food that the other predator brings down.

  14. Tom

    You really need to invest in some cam lock snares. It sounds like you could very quickly have a serious problem. You may already have.

  15. Read ‘Buckshot’ Bruce Hemmings first book “Grid Down Reality Bites” (the rest of the series is good also). He goes into this subject in detail and gives advice and solutions to this serious problem.

  16. We’ve always had dog problems here. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and people think they can dump dogs they no longer want out here, and the dogs will be okay by hunting rabbits or squirrels. Nothing could be further from the truth. These dogs hunt our livestock and US. And whenever there are 2 or more dogs, they get really dangerous.

    Would I be able to shoot someone’s pet if I needed to?
    Yes, I would, and have done so several times.

    My tenant got caught by 2 dogs between her house and her mailbox one day. They were ready to attack her when I shot them. They had been pets, both were wearing collars but no ID.

  17. While on a surveying crew I found that Ranchers had trained their dogs to attack but never figured out how to stop them. Half the time fido and friends would be fighting with me while I did my job. You try not to fatally injure the dog of the ranch owner but I have bounced some rather large rocks off the dogs heads. In a shtf era dogs are protein and fair game to hunt. They will be rapidly eaten up by starving people. Detroit has wild dog packs living in the ruins of abandoned buildings. They are eating something there. In Alaska I have been as close as ten feet to wolves. They try to stare you down but I would stare back and they would back away from me never running really. Bears are a bigger problem where I live now I am always armed 24/7 and so far the bears may eat the dog food but that is about all except one knocked my father over one time when he got careless

  18. We have problems with stray tom cats. They usually end up dead. We got a few nice ones that we took back to town and turned them loose. :)

  19. I had a scenario when I was younger living on the east coast. My friend and I would pack up a back pack full of beans and cool-aid and tang and go week-end camping a few miles from home in the summer time every so often. We were both 14 and 15 at the time. I can’t recall how many dogs, it was either 3 or 4,came around our camp-site one evening and started to circle us around the fire. My friend and his dad raised retrievers for a hobby and a living, anyway to make a long story short, my friend knew what to do. One of the dogs lunged at my friend and he grabbed the two front legs of this dog and spread them apart, I guess it really made a mess of the dogs internals and it died very quickly. Were we lucky? Damn right we were. We were also warned before we went out that there were some dogs running down deer in the area, but we didn’t think too much of it. Lesson learned. My friends father taught him that was one way to defend yourself against a dog attack.The other dogs ran after that incident. One of the other things that I learned was that if given the opportunity,grab the dogs ears and as hard as you can twist and pull and turn as hard as you can. I know this sounds almost next to impossible during one of these encounters,especially when the adrenaline dump hits you, but you have to stay calm and in control and identify the alpha right away if you are going to attempt anything.

  20. Stray dogs become food in a SHTF situation. Without any experience, and being desperately hungry, they are easy to bait. My meat grinder and my smoker would be going full time. Doggie scraps make good bait for more strays.

    Better to put them down by your own hand than set them free. They will only die more tired and hungry, and I will benefit from the protein instead of their owner.

    I may not eat any of the meat. But I know several in my own neighborhood who would relish the meal after three weeks without provisions. You get hungry enough, you will eat spit roasted armadillo if you have to.

  21. – I realize this is an old thread, but the problem hasn’t gone away or gotten any less. I have dealt with feral dogs, or family pets pretending to be, multiple times since I was 10 years old. My brother, 4 years younger than me, and I were out (trespassing on ranch land, yes) hunting frogs in the creek with an old Benjamin air rifle when two dogs decided to take a bit too much interest in us. We tried throwing rocks, which only kept them back a little ways. After about 15 minutes of standoff, with them trying to herd us back to the creek and us trying to leave to go home, I finally screwed up my courage and shot the leader, what I later learned to call the alpha, with that old air gun. Yes, a .177 airgun will kill a dog. I’ve done it a few times since, but a .223 or a 20 gauge works much better. It was the scrawniest, mangiest, most flea-bitten thing you could imagine, and still had a leather collar that was bleached almost white from the sun.
    I felt no guilt over defending my brother and myself that day. I have protected other family members since, although fortunately I’ve never had to use an airgun again. In the last days of her life, my fathers mother was living with us and had gone outside with her cane when two large German Shepherds came after her. The 20-gauge worked just fine.
    There have been many other incidents, but so far, I haven’t had any difficulty.
    – Papa S.

    1. That’s one reason I always carry a firearm. One never knows…

      We have coyote and ‘coydog’ problems around here. 99% of the time they’ll stay away from a human. But all it takes is a sick one or a pack of crazies…

      …not to mention the lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!) around here…

      1. Remind folks , then Texas governor Rick Perry (current energy secretary) made a one shot kill with his Ruger LCP .380 on a coyote threatening him and his dog while he was jogging back in 2010. Ruger came out with a special edition “Coyote Special” to mark the event.

    2. Papa Smurf;
      Interesting comment thanks for bringing this up.

      Around this neck of the high desert the Coyote population is mostly taken care of by the Mountain Lions. Hence we have a huge problem with the Lions killing off a substantial number of Deer and Elk in addition to the Coyotes. What really becomes the problem is during birthing season for the Ranchers. Hence to say if one sees a Lion, you shoot it, no questions asked.

      Also a problem believe it or not is Farrell Cats; people just dump them off thinking that the Good Ole Boy Farmers and Ranchers need them to “Help with the rodent problem”. Of course Cats will kill anything they can (ever see what happens when a Ferrell Cat gets into a Chicken Coop?) so they are also on the “non-hunting” shoot them on sight list. This sounds cruel but it’s a necessity.

      I agree with Ken, a SW-Governor or whatever is a necessity when you’re out and about, more for the 4-legged foe than the 2-leged ones.

  22. – I carry at least a 4″ .357 Ruger Speed-Six any more when I am out and about nowadays. It seems to do the job even at ranges that I would question from someone else. I have told elsewhere on this blog of my introduction to birthing season and coyotes, so won’t repeat it, but have very little patience with them. Mountain lions are a rare sight around here. If you kill one, you are supposed to report it so they can count/collect it. Otherwise, the 3 S’s apply (Shoot, Shovel, and Shut up.)
    – Papa S.

    1. – Oh, on the feral cats. Afraid i couldn’t tell you how many i’ve killed. very hard on the quail population
      – Papa

    2. Papa Smurf;
      Understand the 357, but I like the newer SW-Governor aka 410 shot shell, 45LC combination.
      (2) #6 shot, (2) 410-‘defender’ loads, and (2) 45LC bear loads. with a speed-loader on the other hip.
      Very VERY happy I have never gotten to the 45LC rounds :-)

      1. – Tried the first Judge I ever saw, just didn’t sit in my hand right. .357 is pretty versatile; typically have shot shell, followed by 100 gr. .38 WC, followed by (2) 125 HP, followed by 158’s. Two speedloaders kind of balances things, and a 12-rd MTM ammo wallet balances my hip pockets. You’d think I had nothing but odds and ends of ammo boxes.
        – Papa

        1. Papa Smurf;
          I agree the Tarsus Judge is not a good piece of firepower (Just My Opinion, had one, sold it), the SW Gov is nice, a little heavy, but again it’s a 410 SS. and actually kicks very little.
          We do have the occasional Bear here, they follow the “Orange River” looking for food.
          I happened across one a couple of years back, poor guy was more frightened of me than I was of him I believe, he hauled butt when he saw me and Blue. That was the day I decided to get the Governor, with the Bear Loads. the 5 rounds in the Judge just did not seem right…… and I could not find a speed loader that worked well for the Judge.

          I defiantly agree the speed-loaders balance out the weight some.

      2. – Oh, the last bear in my area was killed with a .22 LR about 1935. Just deer, lots of pigs, occasional bobcat and coyotes. And of course, difficult cows and horses.
        – Papa

  23. Just about everyone around here has dogs. My old dog recently passed and I haven’t replaced her yet. I particularly appreciate the dogs across the way and up toward the main road a bit. They bark at people and just won’t stop. As I’m three up from the dead end they let me know when people are around; usually they don’t belong.

    However only about half of the neighbors have fences on their yards and the dogs without yard fences tend to wander. Last year an elk cow stomped one to death when it got too close. Am thinking that if SHTF some of these pups may end up as chicken food.

    The cougars and bobcats seem to keep the smaller-sized feral cat population in check.

  24. Goodness Papa Smurf and NRP your making me feel under armed with my 22 Mag Garden Revolver. I have 6 shots with 2 each 22 shorts sleeved with 22 Mag casings (very quiet and accurate) for garden pests and 2 each 22 Long Rifle sleeved as above (not so quiet but accurate) for larger pests and finally 2 each 22 Mag for trouble. A few dabs of my wife’s nail polish tells me what up next in the shooting order and I can rotate that cylinder easy enough to quickly choose a heavier round.

    Ground Hogs, Dogs and people threats are covered but I expect that the Bear will walk away as before AND I am GRATEFUL we don’t have Mountain Lions here in NH. A Dog pack would be real trouble but I’d have the garden gun and a shovel/hoe to get back to the house.

    After SHTF my garden gun would be upgraded with an Over Watch Shooter as you really cannot get that much work done with a rifle strapped on your back and trying to keep a 360 degree watch.

    Pray and prepare friends, once things get ugly it’s TOO LATE to get that extra item.

    1. NH Michael;
      I remember this article from February.
      I still have that Governor on the hip as I do my chores around the house. Though the Holster is getting worn a bit. Fortunately I have only used it once in this time. Had a limb-rat thinking he’d make his new home in my Garden…..Bad Idea. But was very good fried in Coconut oil with a scattering of Onions and Taters…. :-)
      Sure as heck I never NEVER need to get to round # 6 in that hardware.

      1. – NH Michael –
        In my defense, when I am “out and about” I am usually at least 15-20 minutes by truck from the house. Therefore, a little bit heavier firepower. Around the house, I usually don’t have anything heavier than a 1377 Crosman or a .22 LR H&R 9 shot revolver. (Usually the airgun when I am out in the garden.)
        – Papa S.

      2. – That little 1377 worked well enough on the 65-70 lb Pit that thought he would jump my fence and go after Daisy, my Lab/Boxer mix who lives in the back yard. Dropped like I’d flipped a switch. Don’t know if he didn’t see me, or just discounted me.
        Real pain to put him in a black bag and in dumpster.
        – Papa

        1. Papa Smurf my brother from another Mother :-) No one ever said black bag and wet work was easy you know.

          You killed a Pit-bull mix with an Air gun? Very impressive. I need to look up that 1377 Crossman. I find the quiet 22 short pretty effective and by most foot-pound numbers about twice what a hard hitting 177 air rifle can generate.

          Still a lot of work to Shoot Shovel and Shut up so I pre-dig the shovel part :-) when I have time.

          My beloved was tempted to zap a big brown bunny this morning. Hasenpfeffer is a favorite of mine. I said no as we already had plenty of cooking today (we tend to cook for a week ahead) laid on AND that Bunny was a probably pregnant doe given her size and chunkiness. Currently I have plenty of clover and my mature blueberries can stand a bit of rabbit pruning. More rabbits for next year.

          Enjoy the day Papa Smurf!

    2. Just a point for people that might not understand guns as well as you. In a dog pack/attack situation, with the aforementioned ammo setup in a 22 mag the user will definitely be undergunned. Especially for a non expert shooter, in a real life or death scenario, more gun will be well advised. Animals that are adrenaline pumped are much tougher than people might think. RABIES is always a concern, you do not want even a superficial bite by any animal in a shtf. This is an attempt to clarify for those who might be in the process of which gun in shtf

    3. NPR I chuckle at your postings, Thanks! Have you ever used a noose branch to get a mess of Tree Rats? I too have an OLD Iron Skillet :-)

      How do you deal with the silverskin on that tree rat? They tend to be tough.

      I bet you know the joke about the difference between a Northern Zoo and a Southern Zoo?

      Anonymous I tend to agree with you that I am under gunned but I have gun shy 92 year olds that I try not to scare to death, literally. So far I have found it useful for a couple of Ground Hogs, a Tree Rat or three and a mangy looking 90 pound mutt over the past 4 years.

      The 92 year olds never heard the 22 shorts and were a little curious about the pair of POP’s they heard when I used the 22 LR on that dog.

      After SHTF the over watch rifleman has a 308 and I suspect that will do pretty well for most threats. That Judge Hand Cannon is pretty bulky and heavy for my current needs although a 45 Long Colt is a pretty stout round :-)

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