Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Animal violence.

"This is an emergency call," the voice on the other end of the line was saying to me, as I stood over a desk at the P.D. The caller should be dialing 911, I thought, as I quickly grabbed a Post-It pad and clicked out my pen.

Pointless to say so at this point, so I said, "Go ahead. Where is it?"

He reeled off a 7 digit address of a road that indeed ran into our town, but the vast majority of which was outside of our little town. It would be a county call, but this wasn't time to point that out. "What's going on?" I asked, after I reconfirmed the numbers.

"My wife called to report that a pit bull and two labs are actively attacking the livestock and her. We have animals down."

"Is she injured?" I asked, motioning to my coworker that it was time to go.

"I don't know. I'm not there, but I'm leaving for there, right now, coming from Big City," he responded.

"I'll be en route, and will notify the County, I told him, hanging up. I told my colleague, "Dog attack, west of town," as I ran to my car. My co-worker ran to his, and I notified the County of our destination and why, so that they could get their own deputies on the way. We charged down the road with lights and sirens.

Upon arrival, I found a woman who was fully into hysterics, at the gate. She was gasping, sweating, and had some blood on her. I kept the medics en route. She said, "They were at the barn!" I sped past her, toward the barn..

As I pulled to a stop, I unlocked the shotgun from the rack, and jogged into the paddock around the small barn. A large ewe was down, bleeding heavily from the neck and hind end. She did not look good. In the barn, two sheep were on the ground bleeding and bleating. I went around the outside of the paddock, and found excited dog prints, where the dogs had gotten into the enclosure. They had taken advantage of poor fence-building technique, and pushed in the wire panel which had been holding the sheep in, but held nothing out.

The lady arrived, sobbing. The dogs had been after her sheep. They had hazed the sheep into the barn, and then locked onto the older sheep's necks, while other dogs chewed at their anuses.

Nasty. Effective.

We got a couple of the sheep up on their feet, to assess them and help them breathe. Blood on the oily wool transferred to our hands. One knelt back down. We went back outside to the worst-hit sheep, and it was clear that she was shuffling off her life. The dogs were gone. I slung the 870, muzzle down on my weak side shoulder.

"I saw them messing with my sheep, and I went down with my sheep dog to the barn, and my sheep dog started to fight with the pit bull. I pulled my dog back, and that's when the pit came after me," she said. "I kicked it back, and it didn't get me. I think Old Lady's dying, and suffering. I think one of you should put her down." The deputies were beginning to arrive, including the Animal Control deputy. I was out of my city, and that call would be made by the deputies. "I didn't know what to do. We have a .410, but I don't know how to use it," she confessed.

I rather hoped that she would learn, in the future.

"You weren't bitten?" I asked, marveling. She'd waded into a small pack of dogs, fought, and come out unhurt? "Are you sure? You've got blood on you."

"Oh, that's just the sheep blood," she said. She was still shaking.

"Do you know the dogs?" I asked.

"Oh, I've seen them before," she responded. "While running, I see them out in front of the house with the old car up on blocks in front, just east of our place. This isn't the first time that they've harassed me or my livestock." Her voice began to get some steel in it. "When you find their owners, you have them come right here, and you have them dig a grave for Old Lady! You bring them right here!" she had begun to yell just a bit. At that moment, the old ewe she called Old Lady kicked her last, and died from her several wounds, in dust under the shed overhang. The woman gave an angry sob.

"You're angry now," I said.

"Y-yeah. Yeah I am," she responded, balling her fists up, tight. "Who the hell leaves their damned dogs out to pack up and attack sheep that never did anyone any harm, just for the fun of killing? Who raises dogs that would do that? Why did they do that? Those weren't strays. They weren't hungry. They were just... in a blood lust! They came after me!"

"Dogs are kind of like people in that respect," I reflected. "They'll do something in a pack or a mob that they never would do by themselves. But the good part is, you're angry. You're mad. That's a much more useful emotion than terror. Hold on to that. Use that."

"I guess I was pretty terrified before," she said, casting her face down and looking dejected as she reflected on herself, ruefully.

"Maybe. But when you had to, you fought back," I reminded her. She was a medium-sized woman in her late thirties, wearing shorts and running shoes, and had fought off a pack of blood lust-filled curs with her feet. This was worth mentioning.

Her head snapped up, and her fists clinched a little bit. "That's what I do," she said. "I fight."

"Good," I said. "Don't forget that. The deputies are calling a vet for you. Call us if you need us."

We headed back to our city.

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At Monday, September 29, 2008 4:33:00 AM, Blogger Evil Transport Lady said...

Wow that sucks, she NEEDS to learn how to shoot. Hope it works out for her and her livestock.

At Monday, September 29, 2008 8:09:00 AM, Blogger HollyB said...

Dang, that's a scary story. And a marvel that the Pit was discouraged by a kick.

I hope she files civil, if not Criminal charges against the owners.

You KNOW how much of a dawg lover I am, but those "CURS" [excellent word choice] need to be put down! And the owners should be held responsible, legally and financially, for allowing what they will undoubtedly call SWEET, docile pets, to wreak such havoc.

At Monday, September 29, 2008 8:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lady needs to learn how to use that.410. And a .243 wouldn't be a half bad idea, either.

At Monday, September 29, 2008 9:53:00 AM, Blogger Gerald said...

Please, let us know the outcome of this.

At Monday, September 29, 2008 9:54:00 AM, Blogger Gerald said...

Please, let us know the outcome of this.

At Monday, September 29, 2008 11:27:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

That just sucks... Hopefully the pack dogs were put down, because once they get a taste for that they will continue to do it. I'd also be looking a replacement from the dog's owners, but that is just me...

At Monday, September 29, 2008 1:05:00 PM, Blogger OK Katrina said...

This is one of my pet peeves(no pun intended). If you own a pet, take responsibility for it. It's not a right--if you can't afford to feed and safely secure your animals or if you don't have the inclination to do so, then don't get them or give them to someone who will.

I'm not talking about the poor lady with the dead sheep. She probably should have invested in sturdier containment for her sheep but she had them adequately contained on her own property.

There's no amount of trouble that a pack of dogs, left on their own, can get themselves into. She's very lucky to not have been badly injured.

At Monday, September 29, 2008 2:16:00 PM, Blogger Dave said...

Once a dog starts they'll never get re-educated and refromed. Owning livestock is a hazardous existance with dogs around. A live stock owner needs to have a firearm either for protecting or for putting them down. It is rough but part of the job.

We had neighbor's dogs working over our couple of pet goats. It took a while before we caught them in the act, but not before I hade to put down a two of the goats. DMP

At Monday, September 29, 2008 3:15:00 PM, Blogger George said...

Jeeze ... up here in the Great White North, the Animal Control types wouldn't even have a firearm ... of any kind. even if they did, they probably wouldn't be allowed to use it.

Excellent story telling, Matt!

At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 2:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did not offer firearm training?

Opportunity lost?

At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 2:51:00 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

Damn. I'm a dog lover, but those need to be put down.

At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are no WORDS for how much I, as a dog owner, hate people that let their dogs run loose- especially ones that do because "it's the country".

My dogs are predators. They were originally designed to hunt large game. If on a farm, they would not herd the sheep, they would EAT the sheep. That is why they are either in a fenced area, or on leash- and would be no matter how rural our existence. They ARE, in fact, sweet-natured animals and good pets; they're just also PREDATORS. Being sweet to people and small children and our *own* other animals has absolutely no relevance to how they would treat something they perceived as prey.

I wonder if the woman in question has room at her place and in her life for a livestock guardian. A Pyr might have been a more formidable deterrent to the pack than a smaller stock dog...

At Tuesday, September 30, 2008 6:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Earlier today a co-worker learned that she had lost another pet cat to some local dogs. She lives in a small town in north Texas that is experiencing rapid growth. There are lots of homes being built and most are not fenced. I love the wide open views of that area.

She told me that the dogs were "hunting dogs" by which I assume she meant some sort of hound dog. The dogs have killed other neighborhood pets, in some cases right in front of the owners.

It's frustrating. Telling her to shoot the dogs is not a good idea. She lives in a subdivision and any stray shots could cause a lot of damage. This town is so small that I doubt they have an animal control department. It would probably fall to the local SO to handle it. Would the dogs even be around when the deputy arrived? Probably not.

I really couldn't give her any useful advice other than to try a learn who the owners were.

At Wednesday, October 01, 2008 10:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


12 gauge, bird shot, short range.

At Wednesday, October 01, 2008 3:05:00 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

#6 should be large enough to do a number at very close range, but lose energy quickly at distance...

At Thursday, October 02, 2008 11:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

#6's in a 12 guage game load are perfectly lethal on even large dogs at 20 yards...... they let go of the sheep right smartly. DRT. I know somone who's been there, done that.


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