I shot a dog the other day...I wish it hadn't come to that.
For thirteen years I've 'done the right thing' and called the local sheriff's department. Those of you who visit the Texas Goat website frequently have read several accounts of the ongoing problem we've had with the people living in the doublewide across the cotton field and their pack of dogs that are allowed to roam the area. In the course of those thirteen years, we have lost numerous chickens, ducks, and geese to these predators. When this pack of dogs scaled a gate in our backyard and killed my six-year-old daughter's easter duck, 'Big Red Clippard,' a few years back, I sat and held the sobbing child, my heart breaking because her's was broken. When this pack of dogs killed my wife's little Chihuahua two years ago when he trotted back to the barn to check on the goats, I held my heart broken wife in my arms and tried to console her. When this pack of dogs attacked our goat herd last October and injured half of our pregnant does, two severely, I found an ache in my chest. When they came back a week later and killed one of the injured does, two months away from delivering what I thought would probably be triplets, I buried her and sold the rest of my does. I kept four bucks to keep the weeds under control. When I stepped out on the back porch a few weeks later and found our cow dog lying still, bruised and bleeding, I picked him up and carried him into the house. The dogs had attacked him, I assume while he attempted to protect our property. These dogs had mauled him severely and had literally ripped his legs to shreds. We had doubts that he would survive, but he gradually regained his strength and his wounds healed. When I got up the other morning and saw four dogs in our pasture chasing our buck, Blue Gainey's Ben, a seven-year-old South African Boer with a pedigree that reads like the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium...I grabbed my gun. If I could have shot all four dogs, I would have. I got one.
Keep in mind that after each and every dog attack for thirteen years I had 'done the right thing' and reported the incidents to the Sheriff's Department. All except the last one.
A Sheriff's deputy knocked on my door the next morning. He stated that the people at the doublewide had called. The dog had made it home before he died, and the deputy accused me of shooting the dog in his own back yard. He said 'judging from the amount of blood' and the wound which 'lined up' with our barn, he concluded I had shot the dog from all the way across the cotton field. I concluded he had watched too many episodes of CSI. I printed out a picture of the dead doe, handed it to him, and told him to take it to the people at the doublewide...and tell them , "I'll shoot every dog that comes across my property, just like I did this one." He did. And I will.
But it shouldn't have to come to that. There are no laws in the state of Texas that allow law enforcement personnel to act on these attacks. All they can do is recommend that we take the dog owners to civil court (small claims) and try to be compensated for our losses. They can also 'council' the dog owners about restraining their dogs, which is for the most part, just 'blowing smoke.' It's time to stop blowing smoke and do something about it!
Texas Currently Has No Laws Governing Dog Attacks Against Other Animals
Neither does numerous other states. Yet dog attacks against people, goats, horses, and other animals make headlines on a daily basis. Now is the time for us...FOR YOU to take action. This year is an election year. Every public elected official is eager to hear you out, from your county sheriff and other local officials, to your state legislators. When the next potential candidate knocks on your door soliciting your vote, invite them in and address this issue. Find out where that sheriff-wanna-be stands regarding your rights to protect your property and your livestock. Question that soon to be county judge about his feelings on this issue. Most importantly, write, call or e-mail the people who make the laws in your state, those state senators and congressmen, and voice your concerns about the lack of laws protecting your property and livestock against dog attacks.