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  #1  
Old 01/18/13, 06:40 PM
CageFreeFamily's Avatar  
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Angry !@#$! Stole my LGDs this morning!

For the past four years we have run at least two LGD on our 300 acres. Our property runs for more than a mile down a low population mountain road. The speed limit by our property is 30mph with spots marked for 25mph with Elk crossing signs at both ends.

It is primarily used by people who are going from Angel Fire (15 mile away) to Taos (13 miles away). Our Property is on both sides of the road and our dogs cross the road from our driveway gate, to the driveway gate on the other side of the road several times per week. In 4 years I have only had one dog who was not car smart and she was rehomed shortly after we moved her. My other dogs have always waited for a car to pass, or crossed when the car is far enough away as to pose no threat.

Less than a week ago we came home to a scrawled letter on our door threatening to 'run them down with [their] car'. I've had a terrible feeling since then and actually had a nightmare that night that someone was chasing our puppy through the meadow shooting at her with a handgun. I've been uneasy. So early this morning when I called them for breakfast and they were both absent and did not come over a period of 15 minutes that I was calling them I was very worried. We have a lot of trouble with hunters trespassing and then leaving the field dressed elk carcasses all over the place which the dogs then go and find in the morning. I thought that it was weird that they didn't come when I called (they ALWAYS do) but I figured that they were neck deep in a carcass and would show up hauling half of it.

Then an hour and two and three and four passed and they did not come home. I was sick with worry. A person going fast enough to hit our dogs on the road would run off the road at a sharp curve (they are every 100 feet or so) before they could get enough speed to be in danger of hitting one. No one even hits the elk on our road. So I thought the worst. I figured that they had tangled with a mountain lion and weren't coming home.
I went inside to start my crying and heard this voice in my head to call the animal shelter. So I ignored the beeping oven timer and went straight to the phone and sure enough. Our dogs where both there. Sans tags. Collars yes. No tags. Someone brought our dogs in claiming that they were strays and that they had been seen roaming all over the canyon for a long time.

I told the shelter that they had in fact been removed from my property and their tags removed. The shelter then charged us to get our dogs back. I said that I thought that was unfair as they had had them for only a couple of hours and I came to pick them up the minute I found them. They said that if we were responsible our dogs would not have been in their care and that that care costs them money. My husband accused them of extortion and the manager said, "We don't have enough money to feed the dogs we have!" Translation: we run a no kill shelter, overrun with pitpulls that we cannot place and routinely have to give away (twice per year) so we are going to strip as much money off of you as we can to make ends meet.



I filed a report with the State Police who were very sympathetic and said to call them immediately if it happened again and they would escort us to the shelter, but that without proof of where our dogs were taken from it would be our word against the theft who could claim that they had found our dogs on the moon.
They urged us to go to the courthouse and obtain a court order for the shelter to release the contact information for the person who brought them in, and said that they would try to see if they could work it like a criminal case (instead of civil) and obtain the order themselves, but the lack of proof on our part was going to make it difficult.

I'm just so mad right now. I don't know what to do. I can train my dogs to work only one side of the road, but that is not what I want. I can tie my dogs up, but come one. Over time that would be crushing to them when they have done nothing wrong except being nice enough to be lured into someone's care. I'm so mad at the $30 and I'm over the top at knowing that nothing is stopping this person from taking my dogs again. The police said "I don't know why people have to go around messing with other people's property. People out there can be jerks", and they are right. Four years no problem. Now some ------- commuter thinks that a sighting of my dog crossing the road equates to their right to steal my dog (and their tags!).

Now I have to vet my dogs because they are only vaccinated against things that they could contract here in the forest, not in a freaking kennel!

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  #2  
Old 01/18/13, 06:44 PM
 
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I like the court order idea. I would do that.
Was it only $30 to get your dogs back? Or did I misunderstand your last paragraph? Around here it would run over $100 each.
I'm glad you were able to get them back safely, and that they were Ok. Be thankful for that.

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  #3  
Old 01/18/13, 07:06 PM
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I know your upset, I would be too. You got them back!!! Thats what counts. I would be upset at the shelter and grateful they had them too. At least the shelter knows they are yours now, and if there are future events will be easier to deal with.

I know its really unfair, maybe you can find a way to keep the dogs closer at home at night.

That was good thinking to file a report with the state police. I like the idea of trying to get a court order too.

Good luck

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  #4  
Old 01/18/13, 07:32 PM
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When my dog got picked up it was $100 to spring him and another $50 for the shot for kennel cough. But the money is besides the point.
Here in MI we have MDOT, dept of transportation, you should ask your DOT if you could have an animal crossing sign installed in front of your house. They should do it because you own both sides of the road. Here we can get them for horses and such, and I don't think they charge.
Aside from the person who took the dogs being a liar, they may not have know the road cut across your land, and that the dogs were in their right to be there. They prolly just thought you were letting them run loose. I hope you can find out who took them. I would give the LEOs that note too

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  #5  
Old 01/18/13, 07:55 PM
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I was thinking along the same lines as Maverick. Could you post a sign indicating there are working animal protection dogs on the property? How about writing a small article for the local paper about your dogs and what their job entails? It could be educational for some people. To get your dogs back here is $25.00 per dog. I used to work at our local shelter.
Glad to hear you got them back.

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  #6  
Old 01/18/13, 08:13 PM
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That really stinks. Is the land fenced on either side of the road, and the dogs go through the gates to get into each side? I was thinking a cool tunnel over the road for them to cross would be awesome, but probably not legal.

Do you think someone took them from the part where they cross the road? Investing in some wildlife cameras may be a good idea. Can you put something on the dogs' collars identifying them as working dogs? Or maybe a sign on your property stating the dogs are roaming on purpose, so they can do their jobs?

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  #7  
Old 01/18/13, 08:18 PM
 
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First off put the tag son their collars with rivets so they are permanently attached, Rivet the collars ONTO the dogs and then put up game cameras that will track the road. Also place a DOG crossing sign with the words WORKING DOGs CROSSING ROAD .

Make sure they have permanent ID either a chip or tatoo and shave the legs to show the tattoo. Let the shelter know the dogs are working dogs that patrol your property lines and that removal of th ecollars would take leather cutters same with tags and that anyone bringing the dogs in with those items removed are guilty of theft.

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  #8  
Old 01/18/13, 08:50 PM
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OOOHhhhh.... I like HOTW's advice!! Perhaps have a lawyer write up the letter, so they know that you're serious?

I'm just so glad you got your dogs back!! You were about to cry your eyes out but instead you have your precious babes back to love on and do their work. Count yourself, and your dogs, as lucky. It's a lesson learned. Now let's figure out the best way to deal with it. Educate the public by writing letters to the editor of all the local papers, etc. Run a story about your place and how wonderful the dogs are and what they have to do. And... put in there how sad you were that someone would actually consider stealing them and accusing you as bad owners or what have you. Wonder if these folks have gone bragging about their deed or what they think about you and your dogs... perhaps this will backfire on them or at least keep them from doing it again.

Wishing you the best.... AJ

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  #9  
Old 01/18/13, 10:34 PM
 
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Might also want to freeze brand the dogs if they have a dark spot big enough. It is impossible to remove or hide. Add photos of the freeze brand to the lawyers letter which will also inform the shelter you will sue for receiving stolen property in the future. Have the letter delivered by registered mail. Then when they contact you let them know you would have been cool if they hadn't been jerks.

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  #10  
Old 01/19/13, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Pops2 View Post
Add photos of the freeze brand to the lawyers letter which will also inform the shelter you will sue for receiving stolen property in the future..
Which means the dogs would not be accepted there and they would not have gotten their dogs back.
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  #11  
Old 01/19/13, 08:40 AM
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I think you have a Big problem, I'd be actively seeking the party responsible.

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  #12  
Old 01/19/13, 09:21 PM
 
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The fact that someone removed the tags means that whoever picked them up knew they were not strays. $30 is cheap to get your dogs back, let it go.

You have very good cops where you are. You are really lucky that they are taking you seriously.

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  #13  
Old 01/19/13, 09:41 PM
 
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do you have alot of money/time? i would consider purchasing camras and placing them at key spots along the road, maybe? i know that would get expensive quick

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  #14  
Old 01/20/13, 06:06 AM
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Maura see my post above, call me suspicious but I'm under the impression someone wants the dogs gone.
The question is why?
Dealt with a similar situation some years back.
Of coarse if it is for nefarious reason I don't know why they would not of made it permanent.
could be some do gooder but I would still want to talk with them.

I would put signs up that could not be missed,
stating
working dogs in area,
to the individual/s that Illegally removed my Working dogs, notice is hereby given legal action will be sought for damages.
Area under Audio/Video surveillance

I don't think it will have any legal bearing but may get the message across.

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  #15  
Old 01/20/13, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mekasmom View Post
I like the court order idea. I would do that.
Was it only $30 to get your dogs back? Or did I misunderstand your last paragraph? Around here it would run over $100 each.
I'm glad you were able to get them back safely, and that they were Ok. Be thankful for that.

Excellent post.
And when I found out the name, woe be to them.
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  #16  
Old 01/20/13, 08:45 AM
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If I understand right and forgive me if I am wrong..your dogs leave your property one one side of the road and go to the other? Do they do this on their own or do you open and close gates to allow them into the other side? it's early and I haven't had enough coffee to think clearly yet.
Unless they are confined I think I would keep them safely confined to the area i want them to work...moving them myself from side to side. Then a nice padlock lock on your gates. Then you know they are safely at home, not bothering anyone and out of the reach of folks.

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  #17  
Old 01/20/13, 01:54 PM
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I have LGDs too, so please don't think I am uncaring about your situation, but it sounds like someone is a lot more bothered by your dogs than you think they are. It sounds as though they are not confined to your property (are there any leash laws where you live?) perhaps someone almost wrecked because one of your dogs was in the road. Maybe it s commuter that passes your house every day and has almost wrecked more than once. Or maybe your dogs are roaming beyond your property at night, when you are asleep. Maybe they chased a neighbors cat. Ar any rate, someone went to a lot of trouble to catch and haul your dogs to the pound. Next time you may not be so lucky. Maybe next time they will simply shoot them. Personally, I feel it's my responsibility to keep my dogs confined to my own property and not let them wander around in public roadways or on other people's land.

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Old 01/20/13, 07:17 PM
 
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Glad you got your dogs back. I don't have any advice, just glad they are home.

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  #19  
Old 01/20/13, 07:50 PM
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So glad they are home..and having spent my vacation in New Mexico, I know what is up with the dogs moving from one side to the other..open range areas and no fences most places. If you find out who did this I am guessing thay are out of staters, who moved someplace for a new life, but forgot to leave the old one behind..having the same issues here to, except with fences..just nosy busy bodies....good luck, when I hit Los Lunas in May I will have to give you all a hello

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  #20  
Old 01/20/13, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pamda View Post
So glad they are home..and having spent my vacation in New Mexico, I know what is up with the dogs moving from one side to the other..open range areas and no fences most places. If you find out who did this I am guessing thay are out of staters, who moved someplace for a new life, but forgot to leave the old one behind..having the same issues here to, except with fences..just nosy busy bodies....good luck, when I hit Los Lunas in May I will have to give you all a hello
Absolutely give me a shout!

Yes, you are right about our situation. We have A LOT of wealthy, retired people from TX and CA, who come out here to build huge houses that they use either in the summer or the winter (rarely both) and generally wish that the rest of us would go away with our crazy handbuilt houses, smelly livestock, and poverty.

It is also open range. I know for certain that the dogs aren't leaving our property. We know our neighbors on the side that we even have neighbors. On the other side we have a shutdown campground and some empty summer houses. Actually, at this time of year most of the canyon is empty summer houses. We have no neighbors that they bother, and no nearby livestock or pets for them to bother. At night one is contained with the livestock and the other doesn't cross without him. I also know that there has never been a time that it took them more than a couple of minutes to make it home when I call them. They can always hear me and they always come.

No one is going fast enough on this road to be in danger of a wreck from our dogs crossing the road, and I have watched our dogs cross for many years now. They are not darting out in front of cars. About 7 miles down the road there is a ranch that has dogs that are darting out and chasing cars, but in all the times we've driven past them we've never been in danger of hitting one. We honk at them and mumble about why someone lets a pack of dogs chase cars, but seriously. Despite being irritating, they aren't in danger, nor are they endangering anyone.

I suspect that Pamda is correct. We live in a county where A LOT of dogs are roaming. Many are chasing cars. More still live in parking lots. I suspect we are dealing with a person who has no clue what an LGD is, and believes that they are teaching us a lesson for irresponsibly allowing our dogs to roam free.

We also live inside the national forest and even locals are astounded when they find out that our property runs the entire mile on both sides of the road. Most of the property in the area has either been parceled off to one or two acre lots or has long been abandoned. I doubt they even considered that the dogs were crossing from one part of their property to another.

Another problem that comes with this much undeveloped land is the trespassers. Most of them, when confronted, argue that they are on public land (inside the national forest), and even when we point out the fence they crossed and all the private property signs they tend to have attitude. They leave junk food bags and the hunters leave field dressed carcasses which attract the coyotes, which attract our dogs, who then find the carcasses which they steal from the coyotes, and proceed to bring it piece by piece back to our place. sigh.

I would be happy to have dog proof fences, but it is never, ever going to happen. Outside of our land sitting on the rocky mountains (no such thing as post hole digging) I will never be able to afford that much fencing and machinery to install it. It's impossible and the thought of laying out that much cash and work because one person in all these years decided that they don't want my dogs to cross the road... nope.

I think we're going to move on the signs, beginning with contacting the DOT on Monday. The police said that we had a right to put up signs and I specifically asked if they could say anything. I plan to put up signs noting the dog's legal right to cross and their working dog status as well as the fact that we filed a report and will follow up with further action if our dogs are messed with again.

Many are completely right here. We are dealing with a person that wanted, specifically to cause us trouble. Why else would they take the dogs, remove their tags and claim that they were known strays? It worries me, and my dogs have been contained during the day and loose at night since it happened, and I think we'll stick with this arrangement until the signs are up.

By comparison to other areas the $30 is inexpensive. For us it was this week's hay money though. We'll survive. What I'm upset about is that I feel harrassed and fearful. I can't simply put it behind me. The shelter people where cruelly, and inappropriately rude to us, and just the thought of dealing with them again has cost me sleep two nights in a row.

I don't want to deal with getting a court order, and really don't want to meet this person, but I don't feel like I have a choice. Which also makes me uncomfortable. If I had such a problem with a person's dogs (or was so worried about them) I would go and talk to the owners before I would steal the dogs, remove their tags and hand them over to be held for ransom. I have to wonder what kind of vindictive and bored person I might meet when I have to.
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  #21  
Old 01/21/13, 07:10 AM
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Is this a private shelter (which still needs to licence witht he stae ) or a county run one? I would proceede to raise heck with them to, through the proper channels...and maybe with letter to the bigger area newspapers. Shelter people, esp in areas like New Mexico, get kinda weird about stuff, not enough to do I think.

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  #22  
Old 01/21/13, 07:44 AM
 
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You said someone had stuck a scrawled note on your door a few days earlier? It would be quite a coincidence if that weren't done by the same person who did the tag-removal bit. Sounds like you didn't bother to save the note, but that would give you a handwriting sample if you still had it around somewhere. *However*, actually in fact pursuing official legal action at this stage might be more a version of the tarbaby story, something that would dig you into a time- and emotion- draining stressful and futile exercise. The first thing that came to me as I read down the thread, as a few others have suggested, would be a game camera or similar sort of solid-state video recorder, enough that you'd have an erasable loop for any day somebody might pull over near the gate(s) and mess with the dogs again. Of course, if they cross anywhere along several hundred yards distance you might not really know where to place one. I'd guess buying a camera without really good other usage planned would be too expensive, any chance of borrowing from a neighbor?

Here's another approach scenario, one in which you could play on likely uncertainties involved. First, sincerely internalize that the $30 fee by the shelter is quite reasonable on an "industry standard" basis. Channel a tiny bit of sympathy for their position, at least so you can call them back, or better yet even, drop in while running some other errand, and start out with a sincere-sounding apologetic lead-in saying the truth, that you ran the situation by other "homesteaders" at an online forum and got several comments that the charges were on the low side and then that you understand the time and money pressure they're under doing a service, that you're glad your dogs weren't just dumped out somewhere west of Taos, etc. (It also occurs to me that the people who did this could even have made a financial donation to the shelter at some point as newbie and wealthy, but meddlesome and ignorant, locals, so the people there could feel conflicted about helping you pursue their identity.) THEN, suggest to the shelter folks that since they must surely have the names of whomever brought the tagless dogs in, that they could help *educate* these people about the "working LGD" concept, that the dogs are car-smart (and if they aren't, if they were just standing IN the road or something you need to know such facts), that you own a long distance along both sides of the road, that you need them to be ranging protecting your property and that this isn't irresponsibility on your part even though some newcomer could be interpreting what they're seeing as such. Then *ask* the shelter people to call those people themselves and explain the situation to them *and* mention that you "still have a note left on our door unsigned but surely by the same people that'll serve as a handwriting sample if this becomes a criminal matter in the future should our dogs be harassed or harmed again, and/or if we choose to encourage the state police to subpoena you to release this person's identity to them as they've already told us they might be able to do." The key would be to get an intermediary to explain rural realities, offer to relay information if there's actually some aspect of your dogs' behavior you aren't aware of, and *bluff* them with the possibility they left a handwriting sample as evidence for something real cops might come after them for doing. Maybe add to the bluff by saying you're going to have multiple video cams placed along the road now, of course. Or, if the cops would do this informational drop-by visit to the perps, that would work, too; they might be willing to do that if you weren't insisting on knowing the identity yourself.

Many years back, I bought a few acres with a borderline-habitable cottage in East Tennessee and was in and out the first few weeks fixing it up, then gone most days at a job even though there at nights. A rather scruffy fellow living a few hundred yards down the road came by several times offering to help and looking around, though I didn't encourage him other than a bit of casual chatting. Within a week or so, a window was jimmied open and a bunch of tools inside stolen; sheriff came out and took the report but of course didn't think anything much could be done. However, a big screwdriver that wasn't mine had been dropped outside by the pried-open window. Day or two later, same neighbor approached to pass time of day, I sort of deliberately went into a "rant mode" about having tools stolen but added that the cops had said the screwdriver had great prints on it and they'd get whomever had done this for sure in a few days. Mr. Scruffy himself moved out two days later and was never seen in the area again; he'd in fact been in the hoosegow a time or three and didn't want a repeat, I guess.

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  #23  
Old 01/21/13, 06:23 PM
 
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At least the shelter knows they are yours now, and if there are future events will be easier to deal with.
Around here that means if they see the dogs again they don't give them back. They have no proof they were on your land when taken and think you should be supervising your dogs so multiple incidences of them turning up in the shelter means they eventually keep them. I wouldn't be surprised if they at least charge more money the 2nd time. Definitely take the police along to the shelter so they know something else is going on.
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  #24  
Old 01/22/13, 08:33 AM
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How did the person catch them? Will they approach strangers? One thing about my Pyrenees: they are very aloof with most people and it would be very difficult for someone to entice them into a car.

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  #25  
Old 01/22/13, 08:47 AM
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Along with riveting their ID to their collars, can you rivet a tag that says something like "Working livestock protector - do not remove us from our patrol or you leave our charges vulnerable"?

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  #26  
Old 01/26/13, 11:45 AM
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Around here people practice the 3 Ss. It sounds like an outsider who doesn't understand what LGDs are and do. I think you were very lucky that they were in the shelter. I like the sign idea, especially if you can all them Livestock Guardian Dogs, and do a bit of education.

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  #27  
Old 01/26/13, 10:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LisaInN.Idaho View Post
How did the person catch them? Will they approach strangers? One thing about my Pyrenees: they are very aloof with most people and it would be very difficult for someone to entice them into a car.
My Pyrs are also aloof, I can't imagine how anyone could get hold of them unless they were darted or drugged. I suspect anyone that tried to corner, grab, or otherwise lay hands on them would sustain some bites.
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  #28  
Old 01/27/13, 04:20 PM
 
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Seems like a no brainer. We have the right to confront our accusers. Someone took your properly identified dogs. They purposefully removed all identification. They turned them in claiming they were running loose and there was no ability to identify them.

Seems to me going the route of a court order to get their identification would be worthwhile. Can't imagine someone doing it again after the roof falls in on them.

By the way, I don't believe the shelter has the legal right to refuse them in the future because they don't like the owners. They are either a government owned shelter or licensed by the government for their services.

Discrimination against an owner would be reason for the head of the shelter to be relieved of his/her position.

Private businesses can get away with some things. Government operated or licensed facilities can't get away with the same.

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  #29  
Old 01/27/13, 05:36 PM
 
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Private businesses can get away with some things. Government operated or licensed facilities can't get away with the same.
They do that all the time. Don't you ever watch the arrogant little ladies on that New York ASPCA Animal Planet show? They refuse to release dogs to owners on a regular basis, or else intimidate the owners into giving up their rights. Nasty hags on that show.
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Old 02/07/13, 12:45 AM
 
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Location: Washington State
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I think you got lucky. We had someone steal our dog (Boston Terrier) off our property they then had the audacity to call me to tell me they had my dog. After a couple days the kids were playing rough and the boy jumped on the couch and landed on him, and he bit the kid. They took him to the shelter and it was $400 to bail him out because he was now labeled a dangerous dog! I went straight to the director and was told if I don't show proof that I have a million dollar liability insurance policy, and a concrete kennel with a completely enclosed chain link top he would be euthanized. The people also threatened to sue me even though they admitted they took the dog out of my fenced yard because he was cute!
When he finally died of old age animal control was mad that I didn't notify them of his death, I handed her a shovel and said go find him!
I hate animal control! Figure out a way to keep your dogs on one side or the other or you could end up like me.

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