Shooting dogs that get in your yard

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sharoane, Oct 18, 2009.

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  1. Sharoane

    Sharoane In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    At the risk of ticking people off and getting myself in trouble, I have to address all of the various posts I've read over the past several days regarding dogs getting at chickens and ending up shot or captured and dropped off in a different area--basically abandoned. There has got to be a better way.

    I'm from rural Maine, where you can legally shoot a dog that is going after livestock. Dogs are also not allowed to "run" deer and the warden can shoot them if they're caught. There's no second chance allowed. I mean, figuring that dogs get two bites on humans before being put down, that seems a little excessive to me, but that's what I grew up with. Having said that, I'm able to look beyond an antiquated attitude and evolve.

    First off, I absolutely hate when people don't keep their dogs contained in their yards. It's one thing if you like your neighbor's dog and it's okay if he/she wanders into your yard from time to time and is welcome. However, most of the time what I see where I live right now is dogs trotting along the side of our narrow and twisty roads, just asking to get hit, or dogs that get into the trash and scatter it all over my yard. This was before I had chickens. Now I worry about them.

    I have three dogs of my own. I love them like they are members of my own family. They are much like having kids since I don't have children--and like small children, dogs don't know what we consider "right" and "wrong" because they have their own codes, instincts, whatever, and it's our responsibility as humans to keep them in line. Same like kids...we have to teach them right and wrong and we have to protect them not only from other people, but from themselves. Kids might not realize how bad it is to play with matches or eat cleaning fluids, but we make sure they can't get into harm's way by locking dangerous items away. Even if you don't have kids, I bet you keep things that are harmful out of reach of any neighbor's kids who might wander least, I do. Well, dogs aren't any different.

    To blame the dog for killing your chickens/livestock seems misguided. Dogs are animals with instincts and drives that can put them at odds with humans and who rely on us to keep them safe in a human world, just like our little kids rely on us to keep them safe in an adult world. And yes, it totally stinks when people choose to be irresponsible and we pay for it with dead livestock. I love my chickens, and if one got shredded by one of the many neighborhood dogs, I'd be furious. I wouldn't take it out on the dog, however. I'd deal with it like a civilized human being. I'd direct my anger at the owners. And I take precautions, like building a fence around the main part of my yard to keep my own dogs in and the neighbors' dogs out.

    To those of you who feel you shouldn't have to fence in your yard, why? Just because your chickens might not wander off your property doesn't mean a dog won't wander on, and you have no control over where/when it happens. Dogs are abandoned by uncaring owners (or angry chicken keepers, from what I've read on this forum) and are forced to survive by eating what they can catch. Dogs get loose from their tethers or yards, slip out the door when it's open, etc., and you can't watch your chickens every second of every day. Doesn't it make sense to protect these birds you claim to love instead of holding out over some principle? "I shouldn't have to keep my birds safe against YOUR dogs..." is nice in theory but to me seems a little irresponsible in practice. No matter how many times you rail against the neighbors or no matter how many dogs you shoot, there are always going to others. There are also coyotes, fox, racoons, skunks, etc. that can also cross into your unprotected yard and make off with one or more birds before you even notice.

    And here's the other half of the issue--just because you don't think that your chickens might not wander off your property, what if they do? They eat plants, they scratch up the dirt, they poop, they can be mildly destructive...and it's not fair if you expect everyone else to guard against their animals potentially going off their property to yours that you don't do the same. For pete's sake, build a fence. Mine keeps my dogs and chickens in and the neighbors' dogs out. It took me about six hours to build, cost less than $200 and I feel a lot better now that I've done it.

    Even if you don't like dogs at all, it's still not right to just take matters into your own hands and kill a dog for doing what dogs do. Instead, chase it off, take pictures of the destruction, call the police, capture the dog, take it to the local pound, whatever you have to do--but this attitude that your chickens are worth more than the dog's life and another family's happiness is no better than the negligent dog owner's attitude that he/she can let the dog do whatever it wants. You feel bad about losing your chickens? Of course you do! I'd be crying my eyes out. Now imagine how some family's kids feel when their beloved dog doesn't come home because you shot it. Yup, they're traumatized, they're crying their eyes out, and two families have their lives totally disrupted. Nobody wins. Revenge isn't a very civilized, human practice. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    I really like this community and would hate to leave, but honestly, I'm really torn right now after reading some of the hateful, angry posts people write. It's okay to be upset, angry, whathaveyou, but what I'm seeing goes well above and beyond that. If this post seals my fate, fine, I'll leave...but I just hope I made at least one person think.


  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I agree with you [​IMG]
  3. You make a lot of good points, and I think what most people on here are upset over, its the repeat offenders. A lot of the dog owners could care less, and some even thought it was cool that their dogs were just doing what comes naturally.
    A lot of people on here post they understand its the dog nature and they really blame the owners. Some of the dog owners/offenders on here are just beyond belief the way they act over their dog killing something.

    I have said on here time and time again, but not recently, that in order to be safe from ALL predators, its up to US to put up fences that can't be "broken" into. Then, and only then are we safe.

    I do feel though that if an animal owner has been told more than once and even ticketed for letting their animals run at large, then shooting the offender might be the only way. It's one thing to let a dog get something ONCE, but for the owner not to do something permanent and constructive to prevent it from happening again is their fault and totally their responsibility. If one of our dogs did that, they would be tied, or given away or fenced up. I have plans to have a fence put across the front of our property, hopefully next year, not to keep animals out, but keep our goof balls in. They rarely leave the yard, but every once in awhile they see a dog from the other end of the street and they have to go investigate. It will mean a gate across our drive, and a real pain in the butt coming and going, but I want it done and done right. I am hoping since DH is an electrician by trade, he can rig up a remote system.
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    In my state it is within my legal rights to shoot a dog who is chasing or harrassing any of our livestock. It is not my responsibility to keep the neighbors dog off of our property and if caught chasing our cattle they will be dealt with accordingly.

  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    I'm sure your opinion is very important to YOU. Just as theirs is to THEM. this is a public forum..i dont think we should bash other members for their beliefs..yours included. Dont you agree? [​IMG]
    I hear what you are saying..and i also hear where they are coming from too.
    I honestly dont see any good coming from this thread.(its just going to start fights) ..people wont change their beliefs...just like you wont change yours.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    First of all, you are new here and you may not realize that this is a hot topic subject and will not stay open long, but since I am posting, I will ask another mod to watch this and close it if need be. Secondly, I love some of my birds as much as I've loved any dog I've ever owned. No dog can compare to the love I have for my rooster Zane, in my avatar. Folks will tell you that here-they know. My pet will be defended against someone else's "pet" (not really, if they are running loose) with whatever means necessary. I am completely within my rights... and trust me, I adore dogs. I love my chickens more than anyone else's dog. I do not blame the dog, either. I blame the owner, but the dog is the one who pays first, then the owner. It's irrelevant why the dog is there if he's killing my birds. The birds are still dead. BTW, my property is perimeter fenced, but dogs dig and dog climb.

    Perhaps you should read the rules stickied at the top of Predators and Pests if you have not already. [​IMG]

  7. BlackBart

    BlackBart Songster

    Mar 29, 2009
    Well I think it is the chicken owners responsibility to properly build a safe coop run or fence their yard to protect their chickens, be pro-active, sometimes dogs do get in despite some peoples best efforts. Other people who have not done the best effort to protect their chickens shouldn't totally blame a stray dog or their own for that matter. There is some culpability, like leaving the barn door open and blaming the cow for leaving. JMO

    I have never shot a dog but my Brother did last year. There were two dogs running deer on his property. The dogs most likley belonged to somebody walking on the nearby trail.
    He tried to chase them off but one of them was very vicious, no longer a domesticated pet and it turned on him, he shot it, dead. He didn't want to but he had no choice. It had tags and a collar, my Brother gave those to the Police.

  8. Sharoane

    Sharoane In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    I appreciate the responses so far, I feel they've been very thoughtful and courteous, which is all I'd ever ask for. And yes, I know I'm technically breaking the rules. I just feel very strongly about the topic.

    I don't feel I'm bashing anyone's opinion. Yes, I'm offended by some of the posts I've seen, but I'm not singling anyone out, I'm not calling them names, I'm disagreeing with them in what I hope is seen as civil.

    I do hear what some of you are saying--that shooting a dog who is in the act is defense, and while I don't think I'd go that far to save any animal, whether it's one of my dogs, cats, chickens, etc., I can understand that either the fear of the dog itself or of what it might do could move you to act.

    Repeat offenders...that's a tough one, too. I've returned dogs to their owners a few times (there's a housing development right behind my property with three yellow labs belonging to different families who like to roam) and some folks are really grateful and some are pretty rude. They were allowing their dogs to stay loose because "they don't go far" and after I explained that they were almost to the road by my house, which is certain death for dogs, two families either tethered or fenced in their dogs. The rude owner did nothing. I feel awful for her dog and for her kids, who are going to be the ones who suffer.
  9. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    Chickens vs dogs is always a spicy topic.

    Everyone has there own way with dealing with predators, and a loose chicken/livestock killing dog is just that. A predator.

    Just as it is a weasels nature to kill in excess, sometimes upwards of 40 birds in a single night and not eat but a quarter size portion of meat. Do we blame predators for being predators? No, but they do need to be dealt with. Even if that means shooting them.

    Most of us on the forum will not shoot an animal for just tresspassing, but if they take a predatory interest in our birds, it is then we deal with them. If the dog has an owner, sure we could ask for compensation, but it doesn't bring the birds that were lost back to life. The problem lies not with the dogs, but with their owners. Just read some of the threads on here, one dealing with 2-3 Rhodesian Ridgebacks, that killed numerous times. They've gone to court and played the nice game, but still the dogs return month after month and destroy the person's pets and livestocks.

    How many times does a livestock owner have to haul someone elses dog to the pound? How many chickens, geese, ducks, goats, or cows must be lost before something is permanently done with the dog?

    I'm not saying you are wrong for your opinioin, you have your method of dealing with predators and other people have theirs.

  10. Sharoane

    Sharoane In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    There are some good points made here, and I'm glad you brought them up. Yes, sometimes playing civil doesn't work, and I'm not going to say that if you've taken precautions, you've taken the owners to task and nothing is working that you shouldn't defend your own animals. I wish that it were as cut and dried as fixing the problem and moving on, but it's not. So let me amend my original post--sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    But still, the point I'm having trouble swallowing is the way everyone agrees that the dogs aren't at fault, that they're at the mercy of their owners, and yet the dogs end up getting punished every time...whether they are mean and nasty or sweet family pets.

    There's no easy answer. I am realizing this.

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