Letters to the Editor

Dog owners can be so blind

Farm animals were attacked by free running dogs along dike. - Contributed
Farm animals were attacked by free running dogs along dike.
— image credit: Contributed

Editor, The News:

Re: Pitt dike trail gone to the dogs (The News, June 21, 2013).

I was saddened to read about Angel Appleton and her lambs.

Even if you do everything in your power to protect your livestock, wildlife can still get in, or worse, free-running dogs to kill your dear animals.

I know what it is like to walk out to your pasture and find an injured or a dead animal.

Funny how dog owners can be so blind to the damage their beloved dogs can do.

Your sheep mean the same to you as their dog means to them. Don’t they get that?

I am sure that if a larger dog broke into their yard and bit their pooch, they would be looking and suing for compensation.

Some Maple Ridge history – 30 years ago or more, there were many small farms in the area that had flocks of sheep, goats, chickens, geese.

Also during that time, there were irresponsible dog owners who would let their dogs fun free are night. These dogs would form packs, as is their nature, and would chase and often kill sheep, as well as other livestock.

The flock owners would awake in the morning to find their flocks desecrated. They would find dead ewes and lambs in their pastures, sheep that had hunks of flesh missing, many with gashes and bites in them. This happened on a regular basis, where ewes and lamb were so badly injured they had to be destroyed or many were so stressed by the attacks that they lost the lambs they were carrying.

The farmers became more ‘predator aware’ and built better fences not to keep their livestock in, but to keep the predators out.

Dogs are predators.

The farmers of the day, along with the SPCA and the Lower Mainland Sheep Producers Association, through much negotiation, were able to set up a bylaw and a compensation package for the farmers, who would receive funds from Maple Ridge, or Pitt Meadows, when dogs attacked, maimed or killed their livestock.

I do remember a few years back, reading in this paper, where the wise council of the day removed that bylaw from our records.

Now we again are under the wisdom of present day council, promoting daylight off-leash areas.

Very sad there is no accountability for irresponsible dog owner.

One more thing I need to share with you is that I use close-to-the-ground electric fencing to keep the dogs away from my sheep. Last year I was informed by one of the newcomers to the neighbourhood that I need a sign stating that it was an electric fence because their dog bit it.

I didn’t know dogs can read.

Diane Cougar

Maple Ridge

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