Sunday, February 8, 2009

The dog park across the street

There's a fellow who leased the land across the road from my farm gate and has made a free off-leash dog park there. It's been very popular, and now there's traffic jams and cars parked on both sides of the road as people take their dogs to the park and use it.

So today I drove up and saw a woman let two dogs out of her car without a leash. The dogs saw turkeys inside my fence, and immediately ran down the fenceline, through the bars of my gate and into my property, chasing the turkeys. One of the dogs was a labrador, the other was a border collie.

It only takes a few seconds for a medium-sized dog to kill a turkey, or injure it enough that it won't survive, and the turkeys that these dogs were after are my only bourbon red toms. If I lost them I won't have any bourbon red poults this year. Finding adult heritage breed turkeys for breeding this time of year is very difficult, and the window for poults is pretty small. If I lost the birds I might not have a crop of that kind of turkey.

So I took all that in while I was opening the car door and sprinting towards the woman. "GET YOUR FXXXING DOGS. CATCH YOUR DOGS. GET YOUR DOGS OUT OF HERE!!", I yelled, and then realized that she didn't have them under control and wasn't doing anything to get them under control. She was watching them chase my turkeys. They weren't responding to her in any way.

She's standing there watching her dogs. "GET YOUR DOGS. I AM GOING TO SHOOT YOUR DOGS. GO GET THEM NOW!". I ran back to my truck and grabbed my rifle, and turned around and ran back to the gate. At this point, with the rifle in my hands, she's doing something. She's running towards Andrea, "Please don't shoot my dog!! Please". Andrea managed to grab one of her dogs to prevent it from grabbing a turkey, but the woman thought that Andrea was bringing the dog over to me to be shot. "GET YOUR DOG NOW OR I WILL HAVE TO SHOOT IT. RUN! GO!" The other dog noticed that the first dog was being held, and turned around, and the woman was able to go grab it. "PLEASE DON'T SHOOT MY DOGS!"

Keep your fxxxing dogs out of my property. I raise animals, and if your dog kills one of my breeding turkeys I'll have to spend another year waiting for another one. "But I always keep my dogs on leash!" They're not on leash now. I don't want any excuses. If I find your dogs on my property chasing or killing my livestock I will shoot them. Keep your dogs on leash until you get inside the dog park fence. "But I don't want you to shoot my dogs". I don't want to either. Keep your dogs under your control, and if you can't, learn to control your dogs.

The fence around the offleash area is that orange plastic construction netting, that's 30" tall. It's short enough that a medium sized dog can jump right over it. So even if the dogs are inside the "offleash area" they're still able to get out. Guess I've got to talk to the guy about the offleash area perimeter fence.

The best part of this is if I ended up shooting one of these dogs killing my livestock that I'd show up in the local paper. "Evil farmer kills cute puppies". Love that.


MMP said...

I can sympathize about the dog. I had a fox terrier puppy maul half my flock of guineas two years ago. The owner, a distant neighbor, was apologetic and did resolve the problem by giving the dog back to the previous owner. But they were no where in sight when the dog attacked my animals. I read the law in my state recently and a person has the right to kill an unrestrained dog if it is attacking livestock and there is no other reasonable way to gain control of it. I think that means if it is eating it's kill and retreats on seeing you, you can't kill it, which seems to leave the farmer at great risk. There are groups in our state (humane society and peta) trying to push through legislation that would give dog owners the right to sue for emotional harm regarding the death of a companion animal. The current law only allows for suing for the value of the animal as property.

At the same time, I have a farm dog that I allow to roam my property in order to keep predators at bay. He generally stays close and is pretty good about where our territory ends, but not perfect. He's good around livestock and not an aggressive dog, his real job is to look good and pee on the property line. But I do worry that a person could be intimidated by his size or just unhappy seeing him off leash and do something rash.

Unknown said...

Bruce, thanks for writing this - if/when you do shoot her dog(s), please do blog it!


Bruce King said...

David, I was a bit mixed about whether I should write about this or not. It happened -- and I'm doing my best to try to give an accurage insight into this sort of farm that I can. What did you get out of it?

Bruce King said...

mmp, I own and keep dogs for livestock protection too, but I raise them as pups with the livestock and correct the predation behavior as much as I can. If I can't, I have to let the dog go somewhere it can be without killing the livestock.

But that's my dogs. Random dogs running riot through my breeding stock just looks like a wasted year of effort to me.

That said, I'm attaching hog panels to the inside of my gate so that the dogs can't slip through the bars, but that's not going to help when the gate is open. I've spent thousands of dollars on my fencing but the gates are the weak spot.

Snowi-Ella said...

Jeez. I'd love to see what my grandparents would say if they saw that a local farmer had killed some lady's dogs in the Ebey Dog Farm. Not to sound totally evil, but just their reaction would be really funny.

I would have reacted the same way. I mean, anyone with common sense can see that their dogs chasing SOMEONE ELSE'S TURKEYS is probably not a good idea. I bet she went home, told all her friends, and made you sound like a bad guy.

Heath Putnam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm sorry your dog got hurt.

I'm guessing you'll have problems as long as you've got the turkeys near the dogs. Maybe you could put the sow that hurt Monster up by the dog park.

If your sows eviscerate their dog, they'll blame themselves. If you shoot a dog, even to save your turkeys, all bets are off.