How do you keep your animals safe?

kasiecApril 4, 2010

We keep having issues with dogs coming onto our property and killing our animals. In January we lost 2 Alpacas. In February we lost four of our egg laying hens. And today we lost a 4 week old chick to another dog attack. I would like an honest opinion as to what you would do to protect your animal.


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I am an animal lover, and there are no irresponsible dogs, just irresponsible owners. I live in the country, but roaming dogs aren't any more welcome here, and maybe less so because of the livestock, than in a city.

The attacks on the alpacas would just about have tripped my triggers. My daughter had an elderly dog on her own property attacked by a pack of large dogs from a nearby property. She spent easily a thousand dollars and the dog endured unspeakable misery before he healed. She contacted the owner, who keeps them confined now. Most of the time.

So, what I would do would depend on whether I could identify who owns the culprits. How large and what breed the dogs are, whether they are truly feral or just unsupervised, and whether an animal control agent will go out in the country to pick up one of those animals. I suspect if they are large enough to kill alpacas, they are dangerous for humans telling you to catch them and turn them over to authorities would not be a reasonable thing to do.

I would if at all possible try to solve this without bringing harm to the dogs, but before I'd watch a pack of them tear my livestock apart, and if no other solution is possible...... I think you know what I'd do in as humane a way as possible.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:47PM
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I have had many issues with attacking dogs, one of which was my very own. He no longer resides with us. Neighbor dogs have gotten my chickens on occasion and just last week the usually well mannered dog from next door attacked one of my cats. The cat was fine after an expensive vet trip, which my neighbor has offered to pay for. All of the dogs involved are usually well mannered and stay on their own property. Usually. When their owners are distracted sometimes they can't help themselves when they see a running cat or bird. I've warned one and all that the next time I witness something like that, the dog will be shot on the spot. I actually consider these dogs to be generally well cared for but it only takes a moment for them to slip away. I've heard comments from coworkers who have dogs that they let them run free because they don't believe in kennels or chaining. I usually offend them when I say that it is not appreciated by most responsible pet owners. Dogs do damage by killing other pets, gardens, and yards. I have two huskies that are kenneled because they will definitely RUN and run like the wind if not monitored every second. Like I said, my neighbors know their dogs are not welcome on my property under any circumstance. If I catch one in the act again, it will be shot or a complaint will be made with law enforcement (we do not have animal control). Sadly, there are times when there is evidence that a bird got attacked or killed and the culprit has already run off. Lori

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 10:37PM
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How? Fences. Good fences appropriate for the animal. You can't control other people's animals as hard as you try, but you can protect yours.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:40AM
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Livestock Guardian Dogs

Used for centuries. to read up on them.

Good fences are a good deterant, but if something is hungry or enjoys the lust of killing, you must meet canine with canine or be ready 24/7 with a bullet (or two). Forget the llamas & donkeys-they may help for a bit, but the bottom line they are prey, also.

Livestock Guardian Dogs- purebred or of lgd breeding, backup of electric fence. No mix with other breeds like herding breeds or retrievers your just asking for trouble. 2 years to maturity and protection-there are a lot of adult trained dogs out there right now in this economy, you should be able to get a fully trained one for several hundred, you might need two or more depending on your acreage & situation.

Good luck to you and I'm sorry you lost your alpacas.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 8:24PM
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Calliope, gardengalrn,rockguy and Brendasue - thank you all so very much for the responses, I truly appreciate them.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 12:45AM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)


Sorry for your losses. Are these domestic or wild dogs. Have you called the police about these dogs? You must have leash laws? Even in our rural town we have leash laws. Regardless, I would be calling them. Have you talked to the owners of these dogs?

I always have a shotgun handy just in case. Sometimes firing a shot in the air scares a critter off.

I agree fences are good deterrents for many things. I have fences and two donkeys. My elder donkey rolled and stopped a coyote this winter. She does a good job but there is no guarantee. No one can be there 24hours a day.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 10:12AM
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As I've said before, we have lots of dogs. Hunting dogs, retired dogs, throwouts and 1 house dog. They all have dog pens. Even though we have 27 1/2 acres, nobody runs free. Our yard is cyclone fenced. Our pasture is 3 strand barbless wire in the pasture, so it is not predator proof.

The only time any of ours are loose is when they are hunting (beagles) and you have no control if they get on somebody's property. But in general beagles are interested in chasing deer and rabbit. Most of ours are skittish and would not even come near anybody except my husband or I.

One neighbors Rottweiler killed several goats, a couple of hunting dogs and his own horse colt. It attacked one of my females and as a result she died. The goat owners told them if they saw the dog on their property again it would not leave alive. That's when they decided to lock up their dog.

I have never killed a dog or coyote. If something is attacking one of my animals on my property and I can get to my gun it better hope that I can't hit a running target.


Here is a link that might be useful: MY BLOG

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 11:43AM
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What would I do?

What have I done?

All of it.

Not only have I walked onto the neighbors dogs on a rampage trying to get at my llamas (thank god for strong fences) they then turned on me and I had to make a weapon out of anything I could grab. I have found tom cats killing my cat's kittens inside my house after they tore off the screen in the window to get in. I have beaten raccoons in the head with an extra large flashlight with all of my 200+ lbs while they were trying desperately to get into a bird cage where I had a breeding pair of cockatiels - only to have them hiss and walk away, and I mean I hit them hard over and over.

You won't win. The only thing to do is build a super strong fortress around your place and only let your animals out when you can defend them.

At one time I had many large coops for show poultry as well as the llamas and some sheep. I could only afford to build super strong pens for some of them. It took a lot of management, I had to spend a lot of time shuttling animals from secure pens to pasture. It was a big pain - but after building the fortress I never lost another animal, I never had to poison or trap anything, I never had to shoot anything, I never had to confront another neighbor over what their dogs were doing on my property. My animals adapted to the routine and it made living in the country much more peaceful and not a war zone. At the time I didn't have a dog and I was amazed at my neighbors behavior. We would have neighborhood meetings to discuss problems and I would loudly announce that the best thing about the fourth of July was that hot dog weiners and antifreeze were both on sale and that I wasn't going to waste my bullets teaching their dogs manners. I never poisoned anything but you would think these people would realize the problems they were causing. Nothing worked.

I eventually moved away and now years later I have once again moved out in the country. Everybody that visits asks when I am going to get livestock again - they miss the llamas and the sheep and the chickens. I don't plan on getting anything until I build a fortress around the whole place, strong enough to keep my stuff in and their stuff out.

You need strong fences if you want to run guardian dogs - sometimes they mistake a jogger or someone walking the road as a threat and they slip through the fence to bite the intruder. You'll have another problem if your dog kills someone on a public street.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 5:18PM
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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

My chickens go out during the day when I am not home. Their fence will not protect them, it just keeps them from wandering far.

Neighbors who farm a place across the street from me were bringing a young dog with them to that place. As soon as it got out of the truck, the dog started roaming. Made my fenced dogs crazy. So I went across the street and said "I hope your dog is trained for chickens, because mine are out and I wouldn't want anything to happen." They stopped bringing the dog with them.

New neighbors half a mile up the road have two dogs. When they first moved in they tried just letting the dogs out. They came down to my place. One had broken his tie-out to run and caught the dragging piece on a log at my house, giving me the opportunity to bring him home and say to the people "my chickens are out during the day. I sure hope Jack is trained for chickens." (Of course I figured Jack wasn't trained for Jack-####!)

Those dogs are now only loose when the people get really drunk. If I ever catch one on my property, I will take it to animal control.

So far the only chicken loss I've had was to one of my dogs, who is no longer allowed anywhere near the chickens.

It's a really irritating problem. I hope you find a solution that works for you.


Here is a link that might be useful: My place: Busy Solitude Farm

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 5:43PM
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Shoot it, shovel it, and shut up about it... If you really need to be devious about it, drag it out to the road so the owner will assume it got hit and then you're off the hook for dealing with their menace.

The ONLY time I have gotten away from a problem dog without shooting it was the time I had a big rottweiler chasing calves. I went to the sale and got an old range cow with one hook horn and a new calf that was chasing anything that got close... Two days later I watched that rot limp aaaaalllll the way around the fenceline of my property while she layed there and chewed her cud...
It took two ropes and both cow dogs to get her on the truck to go back to the sale but it was worth it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Sometimes cpp6318's solution is the only one. The troopers here only hassle you if you don't "use enough gun". If there are dogs on your property for whatever reason, and you have tried to find or contact the owner(s), you have the right to shoot them. Just don't use a .22 or other small caliber that might cause suffering. If you shoot a canine predator with a 30-30 or larger, they consider it protesting your property. Traps and poisons are indiscriminate killers that are not allowed either.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 12:02AM
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I've had plenty of problems with neighbor's dogs hanging out on my property. They're nuiscences to be nice, but they've eaten my dog's food(who used to be just tied out by a doghouse, now in a pen)every day, run around through my small woods making a lot of noise and chasing everything in sight, and pooping all over, and many times bringing other unknown dogs along often enough. They just seem to collect as they go and increase in numbers. I free range my poultry. I've spoken with the owners several times, to no avail. They even had the nerve to tell me that another neighbor is an *hole because he told them he'd shoot their dog if it came on his property again. They persisted to let the dog run and it ended up missing. They got another dog, and leave it run as well. When I complain to them about their dogs being on my property, they try to "re-assure" me that I have nothing to worry about, their dogs are harmless. My husband approached them when they were out in their back field as the dog went running back. They walked quickly away!!! They are so cowardly they can't even face us! I have called the police in the past, and they admonish ME that I have to try to get along with my neighbors!!! Wha????? I'm done talkin'. I fired warning shots the last time their dogs were around. I would have to guess that it was well-heard, as the dogs no longer come around. I understand through the "grapevine" that we are now *holes, too. I target practice on pinecones, and I will not anymore hesitate to "use another target" if neccessary. Too bad for the dogs, though. It is, by the way, legal to shoot a "dog at large" here, although the owner has a right to sue you for it.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 4:08PM
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nhsuzanne, msmitoagain, trianglejohn, johanna, cpp6318, doinalaska, woodrose - thanks so much for sharing your experiences with me. Reading everyone's response here really helps to heal the soul. Again, thank you so much everyone!!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 5:21PM
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Kasie, I look at it this way.
When I take on the responsibility of keeping an animal, it's my responsibility to keep that animal safe.
There's is absolutely no difference between a fox, raccoon, etc and a domestic dog or cat. At least no difference to the animal being killed, maimed, or infected.
Just because someone gave that animal a name, does not give it the right to trespass on my property either.
I learned the hard way.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 6:32PM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

Good point corrie. I think fences are in order.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 10:31AM
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You cannot build a fortress around two hundred acres of grazing cattle, with calf. You are fortunate to keep up the fencing to contain the livestock. My son's dogs are kenneled at night, and contained with underground fencing in the day unless they are under his direct command. As said dogs hunting don't ambush and kill alpacas and chickens. They're interested in the prey you want them to be interested in.

The biggest offenders in this area are people who move out here from the city and somehow think that means their animals can 'live free'. The poor dogs don't know that ambiguous imaginary line around their ten acres means stop. I lived for several years watching the poor red setter from across the road, run and chase becuase as soon as they moved to the country, they kicked him out of the household. He chased deer, and caught smaller animals. I even saw him with a fawn carcass once, dragging it back home. I gulped many times as I saw him charge across the road between our properties, oblivious to on-coming traffic. Letting dogs run free is not only dangerous for farm animals but for the dog running. It's not a kind thing to do to your best friend, let alone the people who live in the vicinity. They moved back to the city. Nice family and no bother, except I worried about their dog and also my animals.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 7:06PM
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