How to prevent dogs from attacking livestock animals

Dogs are not this hobby farmer’s enemy. I love dogs! I have lost count of the number of dogs I have rescued and I currently own eleven rescued dogs of various breeds and sizes. What I do not love are irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to roam free-a practice that can lead to annoyance and suffering, not only for neighbors and livestock, but also for the free-spirited dogs. It goes without saying that I despise people who dump unwanted dogs. These animals usually die horribly. The ones that survive pack up with other dogs and become feral. Feral dogs are very dangerous because they do not have a wild animal’s fear of man.

Pet dogs that are allowed to roam at night fequently hook up with a feral pack. People do not realize that even the best dogs will kill if they are with a pack. Many problem packs consist of a few feral dogs and a whole lot of pets. These dogs will frequntly go into a killing frenzy leaving behind a host of dead and horribly mangled animals. It is a nasty thing to have to deal with.

So what is an animal lover to do? First and foremost, take steps to prevent an attack so that you never have to be awakened by the sounds of your animals being massacred. If you do not have a large flock, your best bet is a secure shed or barn where the animals can be confined at night. Make sure this building has a solid floor, even if it is just a layer of wire mesh. Dogs are champion diggers when they want to get at something.

For larger areas, string at least three electric wires-top, middle and bottom. Make the bottom one low enough to discourage digging. This has the added benefit of keeping your livestock in. If you can afford it, add a layer of solid wire mesh to at least the lower third of the fence.

In most rural areas a homeowner has the right to shoot an animal that is attacking stock. If you live in the country and you have livestock, then you might consider obtaining a firearm. However, if you make this decision, I strongly recomend getting professional training on handling your gun. Also, most importantly, PRACTICE! If you must make the decision to kill a dog, make sure you can do it cleanly. There is no excuse for making any animal suffer.

However, sometime in an attack situation, you cannot get a clean shot on the predator. I have found a bull whip to be invaluable in these situations. You often do not even have to touch the dog. The noise of the whip most often sends the beast running. Once again, practice. It is embarrassing to hit yourself in the rear with your own whip.

Always remember that dogs in attack mode can be dangerous. Watch out for your own safety when you are defending your stock.

Remember, your pet cats and small dogs are in danger as well. Keep your cats confined at night, and don’t leave your small dogs unnattended.

If you can catch the probem dog or dogs without danger to yourself, take it to the nearest animal control. It is more humane than shooting the animal. If it has an ower, and the owner wants it back, then perhaps the fine he or she will have to pay will encourage them to be more responsible.

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