Sigh - dog issue

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jjthink, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Almost too exhausted by this topic to write about it.

    Because of prior dog attacks (thankfully no losses) I've restricted my birds freedom so much that they are penned except for brief periods now and then when I let them out to stretch and explore other parts of my yard, with me standing right over them. $10K in property taxes for my little place and I think my pets should be able to use my own yard but I don't let them at this point, except for the very brief supervised periods. Their run is the only fenceable part. My roo and hen are so bored and want to explore much more, indeed are so joyous when they are able to do so.

    Recently 2 dogs from 2 neighbors (not neighbors involved in prior incidences) ran into the yard and thankfully the birds were indoors at that moment. The people belonging to the dogs came and collected the dogs promptly but had my birds been outside they would have been toast.

    Things are not good with the much more irresponsible neighbors (the kind whose dogs run loose and they blame me and my 2 little birds, saying if I didn't have enticing creatures that attract their dogs there wouldn't be a problem), so I could do without alienating the above-noted-no-prior-incidence (and generally nice) neighbors too. So I wrote them a very nice note thanking them for collecting their dogs so promptly and letting them know that now that it's getting warmer out I'll need to let the birds get some exercise...and that unfortunately there's really no way to assuredly prevent calamity once a dog has a bird in its sights because dogs are just so fast..... (thinking this would gently convey that I can't be having dogs running into the yard).

    To my disappointment I did not get quite the hoped for response:

    "Just so we have a complete picture - are the chickens running loose all day in warmer weather? Or are they usually enclosed and when free, supervised by you? What times of day would that be?
    Our dogs are not supposed to be in your direction, and we will be especially vigilant - just want to know the details. How many chickens are there?"

    I just wish people would understand it is their responsibility to have their dogs under control at all times. My schedule is very difficult - I never know in advance when I'm going to have a window of opportunity to let the birds out. Also, I've learned that standing over them cannot assuredly prevent catastrophe. Less than 2 years ago I was standing less than 2 feet from hen Ellie - trying to ensure her safety - she was having such fun grabbing worms as I was turning over soil -when a dog appeared out of nowhere on my property and mowed me down, resulting in multiple hand fractures and a continually worsening foot injury, and also grabbed Ellie and dislocated her foot (she would have been dead if a friend wasn't with me to help get the dog to drop Ellie). As close as I was standing to Ellie, it was impossible to control the situation. Since then the birds are penned up much of the time. They're sad. I'm sad and mad.

    I have to think on what my response will be.

  2. SilkieChickenLover336

    SilkieChickenLover336 Songster

    Feb 16, 2011
    New Jersey
    expand your fencing. ex: if you have a 12 foot runn make it 20 feet. add 8 feet to what ever you have now. or even more. the more they have the better.
  3. Peck Johnson

    Peck Johnson Chirping

    Feb 26, 2011
    Greene County NY
    At some point a dog is going to be loose and there is nothing that you can do about that fact once it is too late except exact payment for any lost birds, provided you can find the owner and offer reasonable proof that their dog is the culprit. It is irresonsible for owners to let their dogs run wild but that event it is inevitable. Just the same, it is impossible to prevent other predators from doing the same kind of damage without good fencing. We lost birds to an irresposible neighbor whose teenager let the dog slip out and was too lazy to do anything about it until it was too late.

    I am left to wonder why you cannot fence your yard completely. Just as it is the responsibility for pet owners to control their animals, it is our responsibility to protect our livestock and that usually means good fencing. It is naive to think that paying high property taxes guarantees us any security against irresponsibile people any more than we are guaranteed that those taxes are put to 100% good use. Not trying to shift any blame, I am just being pragmatic here.
  4. kla37

    kla37 Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hillsborough, NC USA
    Put in a fence! We have a 6 ft fence around the backyard and it the best! Other dogs can't get in, our chickens and our chicken friendly dog can't get out.
  5. kla37

    kla37 Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hillsborough, NC USA
    Also find out if there is a leash law in your area. If so, get a copy of it and give it to the dog owners.
  6. Cass

    Cass Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    Albany, NY
    Have you researched the laws about dogs in your area? If there is a leash or control law, you should remind dog owners that it is their responsiblity to keep the dog OFF YOUR PROPERTY for the safefy of all involved. (you said dog mowed YOU over causing you personal injury) Add that if you are required to chase their dog out of your yard you will be compelled to call the proper authorities about their dog being out of their control. (cost my sister in law over 200 to get her 3 dogs out of doggie jail. If nothing else works, hitting them in the wallet might)

    I wish that all dog owners would keep their dog leashed, there is no reason that a non-dog owner should have to put up with a dog on their property.

    What are the rules in your state about dispatching animals that attack "poultry and livestock"? If the law states that you can shoot anything menacing/killing your poultry you might want to inform the dog owners of this fact. I know in NY I can shoot anything that comes on my property and attacks or tries to attack my birds. (fortunately there are no dogs around here, just feral cats) It sounds like you can't shoot in the area you live, but the dog can be caught/reported and put down by authorities.

    I don't think that you should have to put up more fencing if your birds are not leaving your own property. Find out what laws protect your poultry and let the neighbors know what they are and what fines are associated with violating them.

    Good luck to you. Your pets are as valuable to you as theirs are to them. Wouldn't hurt to remind them of that either.
  7. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Thanks for taking the time to write.

    Answers to questions posed:
    It is not legal for dogs to run at large around here so yes indeedy, every one of these incidences has been a violation.....just hoping to avoid 'going there' with these 2 mostly good neighbors, like I had to with 2 others who are hopelessly and callously and utterly and repeatedly irresponsible.
    p.s. I blame the people, not the dogs.
    Unfortunately more fenced area can't be added, for complex reasons that have to do with flooding caused by an improperly constructed development nearby.......a nightmare unto itself that could make for a several thousand page thread. And one that for legal reasons prohibits any landscape alterations of any kind for the forseeable future.
    Their run is actually pretty decent compared to some - maybe 500 square feet - but they are bored out of their minds, pacing the gate, wanting to visit their favorite sunbathing and other great spots and wanting to visit with me and I find myself really irritated that they can't enjoy most of my yard.
    I don't have concerns about any other types of preds because the birds are locked up very tight at night and the only potential daytime pred besides dogs are hawks but my roo is super vigilant and observant and has - knock wood - always been able to spot them and warn without incident- 9 years so far.
    Just venting I suppose - I know there really isn't a solution here that is win win..................
    Hopefully I will manage to construct a response that maintains some kind of decent relationship with these neighbors and enables them to see things from the perspective of a bird guardian. These 2 neighbors like to let their dogs out to play with one another - in an unfenced common area on the street ....and sometimes the dogs take off......with these ladies on their heels but as we know all is takes is a second for a catastrophe to happen....
  8. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

    May 15, 2009
    So sorry jjthink. Been there with loose dogs, irrational neighbors and animal control officers who can't put their undies on correctly. Anyway......Long story.......Big sigh................I built a chicken tractor so my girls could be safe and have fresh grass and surroundings daily. It is very sturdy and I use a solar generator to electrify it. I also left the cut points of the hardware cloth sticking out instead of trimming neatly and turning in the ends.

    I'll find the web address for the plans if you like. I'll post them tomorrow.

    P.S. I'm waiting for a neighbor to come to my house with their dog in tow with scratches on it's face or paws to ask me if I know what happened? " chickens here" Now get off my property!

    P.S.S. Vent all you want. We're here for you.[​IMG]
  9. Thegrayeyedgirl

    Thegrayeyedgirl Chirping

    Jan 14, 2011
    10k in property tax???? Yeesh..for that I'd want my own private little forest and a spa, tennis court and worm farm (for my chickens <3). This dog nonsense is just preposterous, I live in a suburb so I don't get the concept of letting dogs run free out of their yards...except to poop on other people's lawns..that was the rudest it got, but pet eating? [​IMG]
  10. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    According to New Jersey Law:

    Title 4. Agriculture and Domestic Animals. Chapter 19. Dogs, Taxation and Liability for Injuries Caused by.

    Article 1. Taxes and Use Thereof; Injuries to Animals and Poultry.

    (snip to relevant law)

    4:19-9. Right to destroy offending dogs

    A person may humanely destroy a dog in self defense, or which is found chasing, worrying, wounding or destroying any sheep, lamb, poultry or domestic animal.

    Source: L.1922, c. 149, § 3, p. 261 [1924 Suppl. § 7-86c], L.1926, c. 34, § 4, p. 66.


    By all means research this yourself before taking action, but the people who allow their dogs to run loose then act as if it's your fault for offering such tasty diversions for their dogs running loose illegally should be informed of the law. Not that you'd do this (haha) but that it's that serious an offense, and that you could, and be completely within your legal rights to do so.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: