Touchy topic.

Read a post on HT  (http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/sheep/465511-dog-killed-chasing-sheep.html ), that referenced this story: http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article/222385/314/Dog-shooting-in-Newcastle-sparks-controversy

It references the farmer’s blog response, so I read that too, and I must say that my heart goes out to the farmer.

When we were first starting out, we lost two birds a night. A chicken and a turkey every time.  We sat out as dusk approached and sure enough we had a feral cat problem. We asked our immediate neighbors if they had cats, none of them did. We didn’t have the means to trap them. So we had to resort to shooting them. I tried to do some googling about the laws in Michigan as far as cats and other animals goes, but all I could find were dogs.

287.279 Killing of dog pursuing, worrying, or wounding livestock or poultry, or attacking person; damages for trespass; effect of license tag.

Sec. 19. Any person including a law enforcement officer may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, worrying, or wounding any livestock or poultry or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such person in damages or otherwise, for such killing. Any dog that enters any field or enclosure which is owned by or leased by a person producing livestock or poultry, outside of a city, unaccompanied by his owner or his owner’s agent, shall constitute a trespass, and the owner shall be liable in damages. Except as provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, other than a law enforcement officer, to kill or injure or attempt to kill or injure any dog which bears a license tag for the current year.

History: 1919, Act 339, Eff. Aug. 14, 1919;¾CL 1929, 5263;¾CL 1948, 287.279;¾Am. 1959, Act 42, Eff. Mar. 19, 1960;¾Am.

1973, Act 32, Imd. Eff. June 14, 1973.

287.280 Loss or damage to livestock or poultry caused by dogs; complaint; examination;

summons; proceedings; killing of dog; liability of owner or keeper.

Sec. 20. If a person sustains any loss or damage to livestock or poultry that is caused by dogs, or if the livestock of a person is necessarily destroyed because of having been bitten by a dog, the person or his or her agent or attorney may complain to the township supervisor or a township officer or other qualified person designated by the township board of the township in which the damage occurred. The complaint shall be in writing, signed by the person making it, and shall state when, where, what, and how much damage was done, and, if known, by whose dog or dogs. The township supervisor or a township officer or other qualified person designated by the township board shall at once examine the place where the alleged damage was sustained and the livestock or poultry injured or killed, if practicable. He or she shall also examine under oath, or affirmation, any witness called. After making diligent inquiry in relation to the claim, the township supervisor or a township officer or other person designated by the township board shall determine whether damage has been sustained and the amount of that damage, and, if possible, who was the owner of the dog or dogs that did the damage. If during the course of the proceedings the owner of the dog causing the loss or damage to the livestock becomes known, the township supervisor or a township officer or other person designated by the township board shall request the district court judge to immediately issue a summons against the owner commanding him or her to appear before the township supervisor or township officer or other person designated by the township board and show cause why the dog should not be killed. The summons may be served anyplace within the county in which the damage occurred, and shall be made returnable not less than 2 or more than 6 days from the date stated in the summons and shall be served at least 2 days before the time of appearance mentioned in the summons. Upon the return day fixed in the summons the township supervisoror township officer or other person designated by the township board shall proceed to determine whether theloss or damage to the livestock was caused by the dog, and if so he or she shall immediately notify the sheriff or the animal control officer of the county of that fact and upon notification the sheriff or the animal control officer shall kill the dog wherever found. Any owner or keeper of the dog or dogs shall be liable to the county in a civil action for all damages and costs paid by the county on any claim as provided in this section.

History: 1919, Act 339, Eff. Aug. 14, 1919;¾CL 1929, 5264;¾Am. 1937, Act 47, Imd. Eff. May 18, 1937;¾CL 1948, 287.280;¾

Am. 1968, Act 38, Eff. Jan. 1, 1969;¾Am. 1972, Act 349, Imd. Eff. Jan. 9, 1973;¾Am. 1989, Act 45, Imd. Eff. June 12, 1989.

I also found that if a coyote or a wolf attacks and kills your livestock, Michigan will reimburse you the value of the animal in question if you can prove it. You cannot however kill a wolf.

 There are a lot of people out there who argue that this was cruel. (“That farmer had no right!”) and so on.

 I like animals. Of all kinds. And I know they have to eat. But so do we.  As farmers we invest alot into our animals. We provide for them so they can provide for us. People may say that “its just livestock, its not like a pet”. Maybe it isn’t “like a pet”, but when was the last time Fido put food on your table or money in your wallet? Don’t get me wrong, I have three dogs, and I love them. Taz and Cail are my indoor dogs, and we keep them on a pretty tight leash considering they aren’t very experienced with livestock. Zeus is an outdoor farm puppy (he is in training). He has been known to try to chew on chickens. Luckily he hasn’t killed any yet, and we are constantly trying to train him out of it. But he stays in the yard, and we know he has problems. If one of our dogs ran on to someone else’s property, and damage the property, or kill/harass their livestock, I would understand that they need to do what they have to do.

I would be heartbroken if something like this was to happen, but I wouldn’t be suing anybody. They are 100% within their rights. And as a responsible dog owner, I need to keep my dogs contained, and if that fails, and something happens, I must take responsibility and accept consequences.

On another note. Misty, the Flemish/Rex/Californian, just had her last chance, and failed. Went out yesterday, she was in her nest box, looking out with big wide buggy eyes, surrounded by freshly pulled fur. She looked nervous, like she was guarding something. So I walk around, open the box, and with quite a bit of nudging get her to leave the nest box. There is a kit. A single, dead, deformed kit.  And she was guarding it. You know what this means? Rabbit stew. I feel bad, especially when she was giving me that pitiful look with the big buggy cute eyes, and guarding the kit… But you know what they say in baseball. Three strikes. I guess I will just keep breeding Mama. Maybe in the spring I will get some pedigreed New Zealands. Or something proven.

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