Monday, September 1, 2008

The dogs return

One of our neighbors, who actually lives about six miles away, owns two (at least) large Pyrenees dogs. He runs a ton of sheep, and the dogs supposedly help keep away the coyotes.

Unfortunately, this neighbor hasn't trained his dogs to stay on his property. Last fall they visited my house and chased after our free-range chickens. Simon and I heard a loud "woof," ran outside and saw the dogs running amok. We chased them away, but not before their damage was done. One of our chickens had a broken neck, and had to be put out of its misery. This is never a pleasant thing to do.

We called the sheriff, and the sheriff talked to the owner, who assured him he would take care of the situation. Well, this spring we get another visit from the dogs. No chickens killed, only because we saw the dogs and chased them off quickly. Then came another visit in July. I called the sheriff again, who talked to the owner again. Meanwhile, I discovered several other neighbors are having problems with the dogs too.

Last week we bought a pellet gun to use on the dogs if they should show up again. Yesterday morning I look out the window and see them. The gun is still in its box. I run outside, yelling and waving a large stick, chasing the dogs away. There are feathers everywhere in my yard. I find a dead chicken lying in the grass. I call the sheriff again.

The sheriff says he will turn the case over to the county attorney, who will decide whether to issue a warrant. The sheriff says the owner needs to get the message, that he can't let his dogs run around harassing folks and killing livestock.

Yesterday night, I locked the chickens in and did a head-count. Besides the dead chicken, one other is missing. This morning I took photos of the remaining injured chickens to share with the attorney. I wish I had taken a picture of the dead hen (not that I would have posted it here) to add to the case, but I wasn't thinking straight at the time, and only wanted to dispose of the bird before our outside cats found it. Not good for them to get a taste for freshly killed chicken.

Here's the photos I took of our damaged birds, with one normal-looking yellow hen for comparison.

The upper left picture is of our beautiful Ameracauna rooster. Here's a picture of him taken earlier this summer, with a normal rooster tail.

As you can see, the tail is completely gone. Apparently the dogs like to bite the tails off the birds they are playing with, as most of the injured chickens are missing their tails.

The upper right picture of our black hen actually shows the open wound on her back, courtesy of these dogs. There's not much you can do for an open wound on a chicken, aside from spraying it with antibiotic. Actually, I've found that chickens have an amazing ability to heal, so I expect her to make a full recovery, unless the other chickens start picking on her.

So, now the pellet gun is out of the box. We'll see what the county attorney says. It's too bad - I'm sure these dogs could be just the sweetest animals in the world, if only their owner wasn't so irresponsible.

1 comment:

Harold Phillips said...

Yeah, that is sad... it's always the dogs who get the punishment for irresponsible owners :( I'd hate to see them put down because of this, especially since it's the OWNER'S fault for not keeping them under control! Grrrrr... so sorry, Jo...