The dogs, Pompeii
While we were there in April 2010 the signs around Pompeii were quite clear. The dogs have started out as strays but have been 'adopted' by Pompeii which has been establlished as a dog sanctuary. All the animals are fed at least once a day, subject to vet checkups and wear red collars to denote as such. Other than this they are left to their own devices. As with all dogs, owned or not, some are friendly and others are not, the same caution should be applied as with any other unknown animal, but they are well cared for.
There were a lot of dogs in Pompeii. Actually I felt sorry for them as they seemed hungry. I wanted to feed one of them but I didn't because there were more dogs and I hadn't enough for all of them. But better leave them alone, maybe they are friendly or maybe not!
The dogs are quite numerous. I was told they have been collected at one time by the humane society and "fixed" , immunized and then let out. This is in place of euthanizing them, so that at least seems cool.
While we were in Pompeii I was surprised (even though I had heard about them) by the number of stray dogs in the area. You find yourself (if you are a dog lover) feeling a bit sorry for them. Most are very mangy looking and pest riden. They will mostly leave you alone if you leave them alone and I would suggest doing so. While visiting just recently we witnessed a dog become very agressive with a tourist. She was older and had bent to allow the dog to sniff her hand when he decided to bite instead. There was no one official to help so people nearby helped her. Moral of the story - leave the dogs alone.
The irony of the "Beware of Dog" painting that can be found in Pompei is that the animal remains very much a part of this city. There is a rather large group of dogs that live in the city today. They have no owner, and they seem to rely on tourists for handouts. Generally, they do not seem that dangerous. Most of the ones we encountered were sleeping in the shade. A few follow people around based on the hopes that they will receive food. One was waiting outside a snack shop for anyone gullible enough to let their guard down and hold their snack too low to the ground. I never saw any dog get upset at a person nor did I see any of them bite anyone. I did pet one which was resting inside a bathhouse. In fact, the dog can be seen in the photo of the bathhouse interior that I submitted. Be aware that they are strays or might possibly have been abandoned. It is sad to see them this way, but they are now a part of the standard Pompei visit.
There is a lot of artwork that can be viewed all over the ancient city. Each work of art tells us something about the structure that we are exploring. One of the most famous is the "Beware of Dog" painting found on the floor of one of the houses. This is right at the entryway and is inscribed with the words "Cave Canum" which means "Beware of the Dog". Now we know that these warning signs go back to at least a couple of thousand years ago.
It's not really a warning or danger but if you plan to go to Pompei you should be aware of the many dogs wandering around... They all look so hungry and so sad. :(
I didn't pat any because I wasn't sure if they were 'safe' but they looked friendly enough and I wished I had taken something for them to eat.
There were so many dogs in Pompei that my friend Jenny started writing poetry about them(and performing it). Her classic was the poem "Mange Dog" l can only remember the one line..."I offer you orange....you can eat nothing"
Anyway, I wouldn't get to close to them, but they seemed harmless enough.
When I was in Pompei there were a lot of dogs in the Ruins of Pompei. At first I thought they were there just "guard dogs" or something, because one of them followed us around and I thought it was probably trained as maybe an animal tour guide (?). They were pretty dirty and their behavior was strange. It was a hot day when we were there, so they would just fall to the ground and take a nap. After reading other tips about these dogs, I'm wondering if anyone knows why those dogs are there?
There are heaps of abandoned stray mangy dogs around the place. Most are harmless and do not bother you but regardless just stay away from them as who knows what diseases they may carry.
See even the people from Pompei knew about the dog problem.
This is a warning sign at the door of an old villa and was done in little tiles.
There were a few dogs around that looked pretty friendly.
Do not trust all of the dogs here as some of them were quite mean and nasty when people went to pet them.