Sunday, January 29, 2006

Naughty Mary Meets an Untimely End

Note: This is a story that may disturb some children and adults.

We reported several weeks ago, that Naughty Mary, our New Hampshire had gone to live in the country with our friend's Joe & Shelly. Joe had also acquired a rooster from friends living close by, a lovely Auracana named Mr. May. Mary and Mr. May were very happy in their new environment. Things had been going well, until a careless neighbor living close to Joe stopped monitoring his dogs. One of the dogs began making visits to Joe's property to chase and sometimes catch hens. Joe approached his neighbor, and for whatever reason the neighbor continued to be careless about monitoring his dogs.

One day Joe heard a ruckus from the coop, and thought perhaps Mr. May was overly interested in a hen. He went out to chase Mr. May away from the hen, and when he entered the coop he was met with a scene of carnage--the neighbor's dog had somehow gotten into the coop, and a door closed behind him. He had already killed 2 hens, when Joe arrived, and Mr. May was putting up the battle of his life.

Joe removed the dog from the coop and then did what Oregon law entitles him to do with dogs who kill livestock--he put the dog down. Then he tended to Mr. May's wounds and buried his dead hens. Naughty Mary was one of these. Joe's flock had been reduced to Mr. May and one remaining hen.

This is a painful story to tell, but we are hopeful that dog owners reading this will take extra care with their dogs--and realize that in many states when an unattended dog kills livestock or even other pets, these dogs can legally be put down. Additionally, for chicken owners--fencing, fencing, fencing! Make sure your fencing is substantial and strong enough to withstand a stray dog entering your yard.

There is an unusual positive note out of all this--one of the reasons Mr. May had gone to live with Joe is that he had become way too aggressive for the urban environment. Joe has reported since the incident where Joe put down the dog, Mr. May seems to regard Joe as something akin to "Top Rooster"--but has also noticed that Joe doesn't seem to have any interest in the hens. Mr. May no longer charges Joe, and Mr. May seems to have developed an affinity for the "Top Rooster".

10 comments:

Mikes Kenyere Egyesület said...

We like chickens, but for the fist wee need FREEDOM!

happygardeningmama said...

Thank you for visiting--and I wish you the best in your endeavors!

Vonski said...

Shocking! Irresponsible pet owners don't sit well with me. It is a shame that the dog had to be put down, but I do not blame Joe for having done it.

Katy Skinner said...

I don't get why the dog laws are so lenient while more and more towns are making it nearly impossible to legally keep chickens. The following is what I posted in my MySpace blog today:

We just moved here to Yacolt, WA (pop. 1200) a year ago. Turns out, you have to get permission from City Hall to keep any chickens on your property. And there are rules governing it, such as the chicken pen has to be 50 feet away on all sides from any neighboring houses. That's only possible on larger lots, which luckily we have. (Ours is roughly 100' x 100'.) But you are required to draw up a proposal, and include a drawing and/or pictures of your chicken house, and show how far away it is from other houses, etc. Then the proposal has to be put on the Agenda and then put before the City Council. It's rather involved for such a rural area. For example, back in Portland, a much larger city, you are only required to keep chickens 25' from neighboring residences, and there is no limit on the number of hens, provided you get a permit. Here in Yacolt you can only have up to eight chickens.

Anyway, I always want to comply with the laws (mainly because I always want other people like dog and cat owner to compy with the laws) so I drew up my proposal, made a nice cover letter complete with pictures and info about my website, TheCityChicken.com, etc. The clerk there made me come back three times until I got the proposal format right. The third time I brought her some homemade chocolate chip cookies I had just made this morning, in thanks for her help, but she said she couldn't take them because it would be considered a bribe.

It's so silly because there are tons of dogs and cats in this town that are permitted to roam at large, and one guy even has a pack of hunting hounds he keeps in a little kennel in his small yard, much less than 25' from neighbors. Chickens are so much more useful than dogs and cats; they eat your scraps, make garden manure, give you eggs, and don't bark or poop in other people's yards. I forsee that I have a new cause; getting the chicken laws in Yacolt changed to be more lenient.

happygardeningmama said...

Go Katy Go! What a drag--I'm sorry you're having to go through so much trouble just to keep chickens.

I agree with Vonski that it's a tragedy that dog had to pay the price for the owner's carelessness.

Katy, do they keep a public record of past accepted proposals to keep chickens? Perhaps you can copy a format. I can't believe they only allow 8! How did they choose that number?

Our laws here in Eugene are similar--the coop has to be 25' from the nearest home, 10' from the property line. Lots 20K sq. ft. or larger can have as many chickens as can be had without creating smell issues--but NO ROOSTERS!

Good luck waging your cause--there are other threats to self-sufficiency for chicken enthusiasists on the horizon. Stay tuned in coming days for my post on NAIS...

Molly said...

I wish my neighbors would get it through their thick heads that I have the right to put their dog down if I ever could get my hands on it! It's one thing to lose hens to coyotes and raptors--I chalk it up as rent on their land--but recreational killing by dogs is something else again.

happygardeningmama said...

Trolley Molley,

Wow, very sorry to hear that. I hope your neighbors learn without it coming to a confrontation. If they are renting their property, contact their landlord...

Semavi Lady said...

Go Katy! What a wonderful website btw!

I posted some chix pics here.

tammy_brennan said...

Since I have hens, I can understand how distraught the man was. However, just because you can legally kill a dog who is acting on instinct, doesn't make it right. My first thought in reading this story was why didn't he chain up the dog and call animal control when it came onto his property previously. The neighbor would have been fined. The chicken owner could also have worked with the neighbor on training he dog to leave the chickens alone. There were better options that could have taken place well before the dog slaughtered the hens. Since I am sure there are angry feelings on both ends I am pretty positive that this is probably not the end of their conflict. Good fences make good neighbors. To bad the animals had to suffer from human negligence by both parties involved.

happygardeningmama said...

Tammy, in the situation I described, this friend lived out in the country, and animal control had never arrived in time to be of assistance. I don't usually advocate killing a dog, however in this, it is a pity that the dog had to suffer for the owner's negligence.

I believe I mentioned this in the story, but the attack on my friend's coop occurred in the middle of the night. There would have been no response from Animal Control, and when they were contacted previously it resulted in no change.