Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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I grew up spending a portion of my life around dogs. At one point killer Dobermans were a big problem, then it was Saint Bernards. Both abnormalities turned out to be the result of puppy mills and too much inbreeding by amateur breeders. I spent a good part of my life on dairy farms in Berks County, Pa. We had sheep, the majority being pets we bottle-raised when their mothers rejected them.
I have shot many dogs attacking those sheep. At the time, the most common culprit was a neighbor's shepherd-collie crossbreed. These were family pets allowed to roam at night. They would join other dogs. Sheep will run and make noise, and that seems to turn on the killer instinct to the point where they were sometimes so involved they didn't notice you had just shot their partner.
Over many years, our family killed many sheep-, goat- and chicken-killing dogs on the farms the family owned. I cannot remember one that didn't have a collar and tag and wasn't a beloved family pet. If you let your dogs run, realize it doesn't take much to make a killer out of them, especially if they sense physical weakness. There have been many articles warning people of the danger of free-roaming dogs. Pet by day, killer by night comes to mind. The best solution is for you to keep your pet under your control. We found the second-best solution was a Browning 3-inch 12 gauge with No. 1 buck backed up by one 00 buckshot and the rest 000 buckshot. Most of the attacks were in the dark, and rifle sights were impossible to use. It's not just pit bulls, folks. It's owners who don't train and control their dogs. Sometimes even when they do try, it still happens.
Remember, you are responsible for that dog's actions, and while the state says you aren't responsible for more than the market value of livestock, you are responsible for the vet bills, which in one case I remember involving an old horse were quite substantial.
WALT SPECHT, Leesburg