For the third time this spring, wild pugs have been involved in attacks on humans. State officials are warning residents to steer clear of these animals and never to feed them.
Steve Shiner of the Rhode Island Game and Fisheries Department told reporters, “These animals are a Hell of a lot smarter and stronger than most humans. Do not approach them, and under no circumstances should you feed them. They will fuck you up. Last summer over in Greenwich, we had our first attack.”
Shiner continued, “A pack of pugs surrounded a family on a picnic. They knocked a young boy over and, when he was down, 10 to 15 pugs licked BBQ sauce off his face. The kid almost laughed to death. It was terrible. They begged for food and one of them, a big male, stole a hot dog off the grill and ran into the woods. The family felt very intimidated.”
Experts warn people not to under-estimate the tenacity and viciousness of these wild beasts.
“People are fooled into thinking that they are harmless because they are so cute. That is not the case,” said biologist Mary Devaney of the University of Massachusetts. “Just recently, a woman in Needham was feeding them at her back door. Next thing she knew, they scratched at the door to get in. Now it has to be repainted. They cried outside her window all night. She hardly got any sleep.”
The North American Wild Pug, rarely seen by New Englanders, has recently made a dramatic comeback. State officials estimate that there are now 8,000 wild pugs living in New England. Wild Pugs were hunted to near-extinction in the early 1900s, but for decades have survived in the secluded areas of Maine and Canada.
The North American Wild Pug is not native to this country. In the late 1890s, Asian Pugs were brought to America for use as work animals in the growing farm economy. This genetically engineered pug promised to be a replacement for oxen and horses. Pugs proved, however, to be lazy, stubborn and uncontrollable.
According to Devany, “The new North American Pug didn’t work out well for farmers in the early 1900s. As far as work animals go, they proved to be useless. They slept-in late, complained often, and bit their handlers. The stiff fur of the North American Pug had little commercial value because it could be harvested only from couch pillows and clothes dryer lint traps.”
Recently, however, the meat of the pug—while gamey—has gained popularity in metropolitan, upscale restaurants. And, although obtaining pug milk is a very labor-intensive process, it is considered a delicacy. Pug’s milk and pug’s milk artisanal cheeses can now be purchased in high-end specialty food stores.
A typical pug pack consists of the dominant, unemployed male, three-to-four unhappy sows, and 20-to-30 younger male and female pups. The male can weigh up to 12 pounds and has three-inch tusks that he uses for digging and scratching lottery tickets. Females typically give birth to eight puglets each early summer, thus ruining their chances of going to the beach in a two-piece.
In the summer months, the pack lives in wooded areas. They rarely bathe and spend most of the day sleeping, very similar to the American Parrothead. They are nocturnal foragers, subsisting on nuts, berries, roots and bugs…again, very much like the Parrothead. And, like the American Parrothead, they relax during the winter months, holed-up in abandoned summer cottages, where they clean-out cupboards, soil mattresses, smoke cigarettes and drink all night.