Thursday, August 02, 2007

walk with me wed dog days

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For the second day in a row we have had hot and humid weather. These are the Dog Days, or so the Romans called them. A time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and frenzies" (from Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813)"

The dogs did go mad around here. On Tuesday, I returned to my home after a trip to town, to discover that 2 dogs had been running my chickens down. The dogs were collared. I saw them. It is against the law, in the state of Pennsylvania, to allow your dogs to run free. I couldn't find my chickens anywhere, only piles of feathers and dirt where there had been a struggle. My heart sank. We chased the dogs away with a garden rake. We searched around and called and called. Finally, the chickens began to emerge from under the brush. One by one I found them. I crawled under bushes to retrieve them, and suddenly the dogs were upon us again. Barking and chasing, hunting. They were big dogs, and frightened me. Their eyes were buldging, saliva was draped in strings around their muzzle's, while their tongue's were swollen to twice the normal size, all swinging and dangling down. They barked and ran in every direction imaginable. They behaved as if they were mad.

The next couple of hours were chaotic, consisting of us trying to fight off dogs while rounding up traumatized hens. It was so hot and humid, I felt as wet as if I had been swimming, and I was breathless from running down dogs and chickens. Somehow, we managed (along with the help of a friend) to find almost all of the hens. The rooster seemed the worst. His eyes kept rolling up in his head in a queer sort of seizure like way. His tail feathers were completely gone, as were most of the feathers along his legs and underbelly.

Even after we managed to get the chickens into the run, the dogs returned. Barking and throwing their bodies up against the chicken wire fencing. I lost count of the number of times that we chased them off our land. Finally, after sunset, they did not return.

My chickens survived, all but one, are accounted for. But they have suffered miserably. Most do not have any tail feathers left, some of them do not have any feathers around their chest and neck. I don't know yet if their internal parts have been affected. At any rate, I will not have any eggs for weeks, months, or perhaps ever again.

Most of my hens are 5 years or older. They are free ranging pets. They stay on our property. I have a fenced in run for them. These dogs ran onto my property and attacked my chickens. And then they ran away. I have no recourse. At the moment, my hamlet has no dog warden. I feel violated, and sad, with no where to take my complaints.

My chickens cannot go free on my property now. Once again, the word respect(and lack thereof) comes to mind. Who's dogs were they? What responsible owner would allow their dogs to just run free? I am tired and exasperated from cleaning up and putting up with irresponsible people. I am hot and tired from the dog days.

As a post script to this entry, I want to thank everyone for the kind and helpful comments that were offered. I also received a private email which contained the following information: Pennsylvania Dog Laws All dogs must be under control and may not be allowed to run at large. Dogs are personal property and owners are responsible for any damages caused by their dog. Violations of State Dog Laws carry fines up to a maximum of $300 Plus Court Costs Act 46 of 1990 is known as the "Dangerous Dog Law" It was enacted to provide greater protections to persons attacked by a "dangerous dog and to provide for greater control by dog owners of dogs considered to be dangerous." A dangerous dog is defined as one which attacked a human being without provacation, or killed or inflicted severe injury to a domestic animal without provocation while off an owner's property. Some Responsibilites of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement 1. Reimburse people for dog-caused damage to livestock, poultry and domestic game birds.

15 comments:

Sue said...

Gosh, that's horrible. Can you call the police, sheriff, town council? That sounds like a dangerous situation- what if there were small children around? And ask around to find out whose dogs they are. Poor chickies.

Judy said...

I feel so bad for you...and your chickens. If they come back you need to video tape them on your property as proof. Try calling the next county and see what you can do. Hopefully they won't come back and some tranquillity will return to the riverrim.

elizabeth said...

I feel absolutely horrible saying this, but I think I would've shot them. I don't have a gun, but still. That's ridiculous and morally irrehensible, not to mention illegal. The way the dogs behaved, you're lucky they didn't attack YOU. And what is the point in having leash laws if there's no one around to enforce them? I'm so sorry you had such a terrible experience. Poor chickens.

mike said...

Hey Aunt Cindy...

I'm really sorry to hear about your chickens. It's appauling that that occured. Like someone commented earlier, try to have a camera ready if able.

Man o man...

Pat K said...

How completely awful! You are lucky you didn't get bitten. Hope they stay away and the chickies recover.

Cathy said...

How awful. I would have shot over their heads the first time and to kill the 2nd time. Let's hope the dogs aren't left loose. You know, some people move to the country so their dogs can run free. The consequences of such naive people are beyond them. Have you inquired at the PO etc?

Manise said...

How awful! Camera evidence is the way to go as well as a call to the local police/ sherriff and definitely place a formal complaint asap. Did they visit neighbors too? Power in numbers is rather effective. How about the local newspaper/ TV? Not sure how rural you are. Also rabies is something to worry about- plant that seed in your complaint in terms of the behavior of the dogs. I'm really sorry that you and your chickens had to endure this.

Ernest said...

I think a dead dog would have been excellent proof. I have absolutely no patience with my neighbors who don't know how to control their dogs. An occasional stray that doesn't do anything but pass through isn't a big issue, but an animal bothering your livestock is a real menace. In most states you have every legal right to defend your own property in such a manner. Might want to check with the sheriff's office though. Some states are rather backwards about their oppressive gun laws.

Nancy said...

I read your blog often and I really feel for you. I had milk goats at one time and the dogs attacked them the same way. My husband shot at them to scare them off which worked for awhile but then they were back. I finally decided to give them to a friend to save them. I know how upset it makes you. It really makes you feel violated.

meresy_g said...

Oh your poor chookies. I love dogs and chickens, but if I came home to a wayward dog atacking my chickens, I would probably hurt that dog. And I would have called the police and reported them. People are so irresponsible. I am amazed at the number of people that let their animals run free, even cats.

AnnaMarie said...

Unfortunately pack behavior means it's no longer someone's pet, it is a feral animal.

My Corgi's sister and her owner were attacked by two dogs last Thanksgiving. 80 plus bites to Rosie and a few to her owner, she was carrying puppies which she re-absorbed (dog's don't abort, they re-absorb) and ungodly vet bills.

The dogs were shot by the county sheriff as a nuisance. Attack behavior usually doesn't discriminate between humans and animals, you were lucky not to have been seriously injured. I dearly hope you report this as a crime so it can prevent someone or you again having this happen.

gtr said...

Oh, No! That's horrible... dogs can really be a bigger danger to chickens than wild animals, and people just don't understand. I've had to talk to neighbors about a friendly (yet running free) black lab that used to follow me home from runs. They swore she'd never chase a bird; HA! I definitely don't want to test that.

We have free-ranging chickens, too, and have just been really lucky so far. Any dog visits were always when the chickens happened to be penned.

Good luck to you; my heart goes out to you and chickens. May you find some recourse or solution!!

Leslie Shelor said...

Most of the diary and beef farmers around here will shoot any dog coming onto their property because of all the problems they've had over the years. Dogs will be dogs and that's why I keep mine up. One might behave and stay home but two dogs are sure to roam and get into trouble.

Marcy said...

Do you know "SSS" for this situation?

Artis-Anne said...

Oh Cindy what a traumatic event and although I love dogs and own two I come from a farming background and know what damage dogs like these can cause ; such irresponsible owners.I do hope the poor chucks will recover and of course yourselves, as you say it is a violation you have all suffered

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