Out in the backyard, we have a tether system for Niko to spend time outside without running away. It is a zip-line that runs from the deck to the bottom of the hill. A cord that Niko is hooked up to is attached to it and it runs up and down the hill. I spend a lot of time out there doing gardening stuff and Niko is sure to be out there with me. He enjoys being outside and is well behaved. When we're inside, he oftens stands by the door indicating he wants outside time. We leave him out there 15 mins at a time for him to do his potty business, especially right before bed time.
The usual process goes this way:
1) We walk out the back door onto the deck
2) Attach the cord to Niko's collar
3) Niko stands in front of the baby gate and stares out earnestly
4) We open the gate
5) Niko runs down the steps (once after it rained, Niko ran so fast he slipped down the stairs like a wild cartoon animal)
6) Niko darts to all four possible corners to sniff out his friends (I can only speculate they are bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, and birds)
7) We check on him from the window from time to time and he's usually resting on the grass like a lazy cow (see picture)
Well, one morning, we found a dead and mauled up chipmunk on the grass near the deck. It was a fresh kill. We can't conclusively say it was Niko who did it, but the evidence is stacked against him, As seen in the Killer Instinct post, Niko has plenty of practice with this crime. I've seen him chase chipmunks around the yard, but they outrun him before Niko runs out of tether line. One final argument is that Niko's breeder told us that Niko's father would kill and bring him back woodchucks. This Shiba Inu might look cute and harmless, but you do the math.
Between this occurrence and the raccoon encounter (I didn't think to sanitize the food bowl the raccoon ate out of), I was worried that Niko might have been exposed to rabies. He is up to date on his vaccinations, but I was still concerned. I looked up symptoms online and observed him for a few days. The online references I found said the infected animal starts to act erratically. We laughed at that because Niko has his crazy spouts of energy at random times so it'd be hard to tell. It's been over a week now and we think the coast is clear. Niko is healthy. However, the question about the chipmunk remains, "who dunnit?"