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FARMCOLLIE  July 1997

FARMCOLLIE July 1997

Subject:

cooped up

From:

Melissa Carnwath <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 10 Jul 1997 12:44:33 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Sandra's post and choice of phrasing regarding confined dogs reminded me
instantly of why I personally have such strong feelings about
fencing"in" dogs...
She wrote "If they are cooped up in the house , they are not only
miserable but they can't do their job."
I guess "cooped" is a relative term, but my BCs spend about five hours
everyday and more during lambing getting lots of hard exercise working a
few hundred head of livestock.  All of that time is spent under my
supervision.  They also have a fenced paddock where they can get free
exercise if needed but usually this is not the case.  They show no signs
of being miserable .  And since their particular job is herding  they
can only do it when I'm on the site - doing their job when I'm not
around would be a disaster. But back to the "cooped up" part...
About six years ago I heard a lot of ruckus in one of my fields and was
horrified to find three purebred (won't mention the breed) dogs killing
sheep and angora goats as fast as they could run them down.  I called
animal control immediately and they sent a radio message to a truck they
had nearby.  Fortunately (and remarkably) the officer arrived within ten
min utes and was able to catch the dogs while they were still killing
livestock.  Animal control notified the owner, a retired and widowed
farmer who lived near my farm.  He arrived at the shelter "spitting
nails" and insisted that his dogs never left his property!He insisted
that  they were allowed free run of his farm and never crossed the road
he further insisted that animal control had made a mistake because his
dogs would never kill livestock.  When the officer explained that he'd
witnessed the dogs in action and there was no mistake , the old man
became verbally abusive and demanded to see his dogs.  The officer
brought out the dogs just as I was arriving at the shelter - they were
covered in blood from nose to tail and the wool was still stuck between
their teeth.  The old man swooned and had to be seated with help from
shelter staff.  He asked to phone his son from the shelter, and asked
him to pick him up.
When the son arrived he explained to all of us that he had warned his
father repeated about letting the dogs run - there are several livestock
farms in my area- sooner or later they'd get into trouble.  But the old
man wouldn't listen.  The son suggested that he take his dad out to my
farm and let him see for himself what kind of damage the dogs had
inflicted and maybe then he'd "see the light".  I agreed and as we
walked through the field writing down the ear tag numbers of all the
dead animals (needed for the livestock appraiser to estimate the losses)
the old man wept. The stench was beyond despription. His son suggested
that he pay us for the damages and fence the dogs.  Seemed reasonable to
me but I'll never forget what that farmer said, "I'd rather see those
dogs dead than cooped up behind a fence!"  He went right back to the
shelter and signed the papers so the shlter could destroy the dogs
immediatly - which they did.  He never said he was sorry and he never
paid for the dead livestock which amounted to more than $2500.00.  We
purchased our first Pyrenees shortly after that incident and have never
had a predator problem since.  A local reporter did two full pages in
the newspaper on the incident and a detailed story of how livestock
guard dogs work.  The story was picked up by several other papers and
ran in a couple of farm magazines as well.  To this day I have never
seen a free running dog in my neighborhood - guess in this area folks
got the message that "cooped up" might not be such a bad idea.
Melissa

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