The dogs on the trail of the severed head
As Times writer Gale Holland reported in her column Friday, the woman walking the dogs that found the severed head in the Hollywood Hills has unfortunately been subjected to various sorts of harassment.
So let me add to it here.
I'm sure that Lauren Kornberg has been through an undeservedly tough time, a traumatic time, just as Holland reports. But Kornberg, a professional dog-walker who was caring for nine dogs at the time, also is quoted as talking about the squirrels and other wildlife that at least one of the nine dogs with them usually harass, if not injure or kill.
The column reports Kornberg's narrative that one dog "broke away from the pack" (whether he got off leash or was already off leash is unclear) and found an object. "Normally when he found a mouse or a squirrel, he'd be shaking it and prancing back and forth, showing off," Kornberg said.
Then another dog went after the object, which turned out to be the head. Other dogs followed.
"Normally" the first dog is in a position to find mice and squirrels and shake them while prancing around? This is allowed to happen?
I'm not familiar with this particular area, but as a volunteer naturalist in several wilderness parks, I am familiar with the usual rules about dogs and the damage that people who ignore those rules can do.
The scent of this unfamiliar predator is enough to stress wild animals and keep them away from familiar paths where they gather food. They use more energy moving farther afield, and find fewer calories to consume, which weakens them. Obviously, animals in areas where leashed animals are allowed have found a way to cope with this.
But when dogs are allowed off leash, they also tend to also go off trail, covering more of the wildlife's food-gathering territory, further narrowing where they'll forage for food. And that's not when they're being shaken back and forth by prancing dogs.
I'm sorry for the trouble Kornberg has been through, but if my reading of her narrative is correct, I'm also sorry for the wild animals that are in the path of the dogs she walks.
-- Karin Klein
Photo: Uniformed LAPD officers guard the entrance to Bronson Canyon, where a massive search was launched to find body parts. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times