Thursday, July 30, 2009

Incident: Dogs at large. . . .livestock killed!





There are those that think that allowing a family pet to roam at large is no big deal. It’s really only a minor offense and shouldn’t be treated as a crime. These people are so wrong. This is a deadly serious issue. Predation is a real and costly problem for farmers and ranchers and has been for centuries.
As I’ve stated throughout the year, dogs at large have become a serious problem in the Thunderbird Farms/Hidden Valley area. Once again, an incident involving several loose dogs and livestock has occurred. The thing that irritates me the most is that this attack could have been prevented if dog owners acted responsibly.

Pinal County Sheriff Incident Report – 7/29/09
090729049 No Code Entered ANIMAL CONTROL
Incident Address : 53000 BLOCK OF W HAWKINS RD MARICOPA AZ
Time Reported: 11:57 Time Occurred between: 11:53:01 07/29/09 – 11:57:18 07/29/09
Cad Info: RP ADV THERE ARE APPROX 6 DOGS KILLING SHEEP OFF OF MILLER/WARREN RP STATES THAT 3 SHEEP ARE ALREADY DEAD ANIMAL CONTROL HAS BEEN ADVISED AND WILL BE 19 A/C WANTS TO KNOWS IF DOGS STILL ON SITE OR NOT. RP CALLED BACK REQ ETA ON LINE WITH A/C. THEY ARE 19 FROM SHELTER.

Note: The animal shelter is nearly an hour away from the incident location. I’m almost willing to bet the dogs were gone by the time somebody arrived at the scene.

This sheep killing is only a couple of miles from my home. The pit bull described in my previous blog could have easily been one of the six dogs involved. Of course the pet owner would say, “My dog would never do anything like that.” That would be the same as me saying, “I wouldn’t use violence as a means to an end.”

Dogs are social animals and roam in predatory packs. When “Spot” leaves your yard, he will instinctively hook up with other free roaming dogs and do what comes natural, HUNT AND KILL! This is exactly what happened yesterday. A group of dogs killed livestock.

Dogs and wolves are genetically identical:

The dog Canis lupus familiaris is a domesticated subspecies of the Gray Wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The domestic dog has been one of the most widely kept working and companion animals in human history.

School is still out and children are often outdoors. All one has to do is substitute a child for a sheep and one can see how serious this could have been. Dogs don’t distinguish between animals and humans when on the hunt. Adults are not even safe from a pack of dogs. To the dogs, any animal is potential prey.

Domestic dogs inherited a complex social hierarchy and behaviors from their wolf ancestors. Dogs are pack animals with a complex set of behaviors related to determining each dog's position in the social hierarchy, and they exhibit various postures and other means of nonverbal communication that reveal their states of mind. These sophisticated forms of social cognition and communication may account for their trainability, playfulness, and ability to fit into human households and social situations, and these attributes have earned dogs a unique relationship with humans despite being potentially dangerous apex predators.

To those of you that think I’m nuts for carrying an assault rife to my mailbox, “How many rounds do you think you will need to kill six dogs that decide to attack you?” I can guarantee, it won’t be like shooting paper targets at the firing range. I’m hoping that I can do it in less than 30 rounds before I have to get that spare magazine out of my back pocket and reload.

The Pinal County Animal Control officers are not properly equipped to handle this situation. They need rifles capable of taking out targets from 100-300 yards away. I have yet to see an officer with such a rifle.

Since I have plenty of free time, I will be patrolling the area in question for the next few mornings. I will also attempt to identify and contact the sheep owner. I think we might have a few things to talk about. I honestly believe that all able bodied gun owners in my neighborhood should assemble for the purpose of hunting these dogs down.

I am more than willing to donate my time, gasoline and ammunition to see these dangerous animals neutralized. I’m sure the sheep owner has discovered that dialing “911” or contacting “the authorities” proved to be useless. This is a situation where that motivated individual and his rifle should come into play.
In Arizona, it's legal for people to hunt down and kill dogs that attack their livestock.

3-1311. Dogs killing or chasing livestock; liability of owner; classification
A. If any person discovers a dog killing, wounding or chasing livestock, or discovers a dog under circumstances which show conclusively that it has recently killed or chased livestock, he may pursue and kill the dog.
B. The owner of a dog is liable for damages caused by the dog chasing livestock. In the case of a dog killing or wounding livestock, the owner of the dog is liable for damages to the owner of the livestock equal to three times the value of the livestock killed or wounded.
C. An owner of a dog who intentionally or recklessly allows or causes the dog to:
1. Wound or kill livestock owned by another person is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
2. Chase livestock owned by another person, causing injury to the livestock, is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
Photo: "Bonehead", my canine expert and assistant. He's 16 years old.

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