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Ranchers beware of marauding dogs

By Gail Joiner BCC Publisher

For the third time in a month, livestock in the Madrona Ridge area off Whartons Dock Road have been savagely attacked by a group of marauding dogs. Ranch owners and residents are anxious to locate and subdue the animals.
Saturday, Jan. 7, a group of dogs got through a five foot wire fence into the pens and hay barn at 3820 Whartons Dock Road, resulting in the death of 24 adult and baby sheep and goats with injuries to many more.
Property owners, Randy and Helen Schaefer, believe the attack happened between 3 and 5 in the morning. Randy said, “I saw two of them and shot at one, but I missed”.
The scene was both gruesome and heartbreaking. Most of the sheep had lambs and most of the goats had kids. Although the original death toll was 24, many of the injured animals lay motionless, barely breathing. Nearly half of the remaining herd showed visible signs of serious injury. Many had ears chewed off, one Nanny was actually in labor birthing a kid when she was killed. “I’m already bottle feeding two, I don’t know how many I will need to feed now,” Helen said.
The Schaefers will have to sort through the herd and make decisions on animals that may or may not be saved. “I can’t imagine how much it’s going to cost to treat their injuries, or if we can even save them,” Helen said.
According to Conrad Nightingale, DVM, “The outer wounds and visible infection are not the biggest problem, it is the crushing that they do underneath. When a dog bites, he crushes the underlying tissues. This is where you fight dry rot and gangrene”.
Two previous attacks occurred at 3890 Whartons Dock Road, next door to the Schaefers. Property owner Margaret Curtis recalled that the first attack happened on Thursday, Dec. 22. The dogs had apparently run their goats into a creek bed and left 22 dead and seven more crippled. “We did a count back in November. We had 101 goats then. I know awhile later, my husband came in and told me we were missing three, but we didn’t find them. Helen and Randy, next door, help us out by checking on our goats for us. They found the dead ones down in the creek bed that Thursday before Christmas. We had to pull them out of the water”, she said.
The second attack on the Curtis ranch occurred on New Years day on the opposite side of the ranch, closer to the Schaefer’s’ property. This time they killed five more.
According to Bandera County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Matt King, the investigations are still ongoing. “We have two separate descriptions of the dogs. Investigating officers have driven the area and have not been able to locate any animals matching the descriptions provided,” he said.
Section 11 of the Bandera County Animal Control Order reads as follows:
11.1 Bandera County adopts the provisions of 822.011 – 822.013 of the Texas Health and Safety Code regarding dogs and coyotes that are a danger to animals, as currently amended. Any offense will be prosecuted under laws in effect at time of the offense.
1) A dog or coyote that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may be killed by:
A) any person witnessing the attack; or
B) the attacked animal's owner or a person acting on behalf of the owner or person who has knowledge of the attack.
2) A person who kills a dog or coyote as provided by this section is not liable for damages to the owner, keeper, or person in control of the dog or coyote.
3) A person who discovers on the person's property a dog or coyote known or suspected of having killed livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may detain or impound the dog or coyote and return it to its owner or deliver the dog or coyote to the Animal Control Office. The owner of the dog or coyote is liable for all costs incurred in the capture and care of the dog or coyote and all damage done by the dog or coyote.
4) The owner, keeper, or person in control of a dog or coyote that is known to have attacked livestock, domestic animals, or fowls shall control the dog or coyote in a manner approved by the Animal Control Office.
5) A person is not required to acquire a hunting license under Section 42.002, Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, to kill a dog or coyote under this section.
1) The owner of a dog or coyote who permits the animal to run at large in violation of this Order commits a Class "C" misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100.00).
2) Each time a dog or coyote runs at large in violation of this section constitutes a separate offense.
“I have dogs, I love dogs, but I don’t think people can visualize the damage caused to livestock by a dog attack”, Helen said. “I don’t think they realize how bad it really is”.
At the time of this publication, the Schaefers have had to gather and dispose of a total of 35 dead animals. They are treating injured animals for tetanus and infection.
The Bandera County Sheriffs Department would appreciate any information from residents in the area that may assist them in locating the animals before more damage is incurred.