Protect livestock from dogs | Letter

OK folks, let’s put on our thinking caps and go deep into a very heated subject in our farming areas where food and fiber are produced for human consumption and use.

Legally a person can shoot any dog that is harming or harassing livestock. Such an ugly thought! However, over the last several years, toward the south end of San Juan Island, there have been some sheep and goats maimed and killed.

We must remember that one of our favorite animals, dogs, are for our pleasure and working companions. In reality, these animals originally were hunters and definitely had the predisposition to hunt and kill for food. These instincts have not gone away! They are still there, but dog lovers, most of the time, do not remember or know that it is still present, something we must always keep in mind! A pack is two or more dogs and, being loose on their own, the pack mentality takes over. Believe it or not, this is absolutely true!

Sometimes dogs get out, or people leave their dogs loose, sometimes all night, which gives them even more time to get into trouble. Also, people think that “my dog would never harm another animal or even kill it.” Wrong! When the pack mentality takes over, the dogs change completely! These loose dogs can and will cause devastating, heart-wrenching problems.

Yes, there is some compensation for the loss of livestock. However, when the livestock has years of genetics in it, to obtain a desired result, the money will not replace the dead animals! The genetics are gone. The loss to the farm is great, it is very much like losing a member of the family, not to say anything about the loss of income for the farm family. Thankfully, most of the farms in the islands are small and they know their animals well. The important part here is to keep our dogs at home where there is no loss or trauma for anyone.

The problem we must all face is the fact that dogs must be kept at home and under the owner’s control. Sometimes that can be difficult but it must be dealt with. For the best outcome, let’s all keep our wonderful dogs home so we can continue to enjoy them and no farm family is losing animals as well as income. A heartfelt thanks to all those who take effective action in regards to this reality.

Christina Dahl-Sesby

San Juan Island