Live Dogs Used as Shark Bait

Just when I think humanity has sunk as low as it can possibly go, I get a stinging, shocking, reminder that we have further that we can sink.  This article in National Geographic, which admittedly is a few years old, was the latest thing to re-awaken me to how violent, sick, and depraved the human race can truly be.  The article, and there were several other articles from around the world as well, states that some fishermen on the French-controlled island of Réunion us both live and dead dogs and cats as bait for catching sharks.

Now there have been some sites on the Internet claiming this is a hoax.  I find it hard to believe that so many reputable reporting organizations would be caught by a hoax.  If it was just one tabloid paper that reported it then I would file it in the same place as the "Two Headed Dog" and "My Husband Is An Alien" stories but, National Georgraphic?  And, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is offering a reward of 1,000 euros to any police officer on Réunion who successfully enforces the law prohibiting the use of dogs and cats as bait for the catching of sharks. The reward will be paid upon the successful conviction of any person found guilty of using dogs or cats as bait in shark fishing as defined by the laws of France that specifically outlaw this practice.

When this article was published in National Geographic, earlier that month the first court case was held involving a person charged with using live dogs as bait.  Authorities found a seven-month-old puppy with three fishing hooks in its paws and snout.  The person that was keeping the puppy was found guilty of animal cruelty and fined 5,000 euros (U.S. $5,982), according to Clicanoo, a Réunion newspaper.

The amateur fisherman said he did not use the puppy as bait. Instead, he claimed, the dog had been injured by a trap he had set to protect his hens, the paper reported. A story that the French court obviously found bogus. That case isn’t an isolated one, said Fabienne Jouve of GRAAL (Groupement de Réflexion et d’Action pour l’Animal, or the Grouping of Reflection and Action for Animals), an animal rights organization based in Charenton-le-Pont, France.  "Lately, almost every week, one dog has been found with hooks on the island, not counting the cats found on the beaches partially eaten by the sharks," Jouve said.

Once fishermen capture the animals, she said, the dogs and cats are hooked "the day before, so they can bleed sufficiently." Some escape before being tossed into the ocean. Others aren’t so lucky. After hooks are plunged into their paws and/or snouts, the animals are attached to inflatable tubes with fishing line and dumped into the ocean, Clicanoo, the newspaper, reports.

If this does not help prove how degraded the human race has become I don’t know what does.