Washington: Dog pack attacks farm animals

Rose Valley, Washington

From the Longview Daily News of December 13, 2007

Dog pack attacks farm animals

A pack of dogs is terrorizing farms in the Rose Valley area, and neighbors have been trying to shoot the animals.

Since late last month, the dogs have killed two llamas and wounded three, according to residents of this rural area southeast of Kelso. Llama owners in the valley say they’ve heard reports of the dogs attacking a horse, but that could not be confirmed.

Neighbors suspect four dogs — apparently a German Shepherd mix, pit bull and two golden retrievers — have been prowling the neighborhood. The dogs appear to be well-cared-for. Yet, people in the valley are astounded by their aggressiveness and they’re searching desperately to find the dogs’ owners.

“If these dogs are attacking llamas and adult horses what’s to say they wouldn’t attack children who are waiting for the bus?” said Susan Calhoun, who keeps llamas and other animals on her property in the 900 block of Rose Valley Road. “They’re not going to quit killing until somebody keeps them home or somebody shoots them.”

Laura Maria, 44, said two of the dogs were on her property not far from Calhoun’s Tuesday morning. She shot at them, she said, but they escaped.

“I like dogs,” she said later that afternoon. “I shouldn’t have to shoot them because their owners are stupid.”

The trouble started Thursday, Nov. 29, when Calhoun’s neighbors pulled into her driveway and said dogs were attacking Maria’s llamas up the road.

Calhoun sprinted into her house, tried to call Maria, then grabbed a .38 pistol and set out to rescue the llamas. She found Maria’s baby llama, Spice Girl, laying in Owl Creek. Four dogs stood on the bank.

A pit bull snarled. She fired three shots. All missed, and the dogs ran away.

Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Nelson said the county’s ordinances require people to keep their dogs home if someone complains. Owners can also be cited under a vicious dog law that can trigger fines of $500 for a first offense to $1,500 for a third offense within 12 months. Property owners, he said, can also start shooting if they think it’s necessary.

“They have a right to protect their property,” Nelson said. “That can include everything from throwing rocks to throwing lead.”

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