Keep dogs under control

Keep dogs under control Re recent articles and letters in your paper about the shooting of dogs and dead poultry in Tagish: The killing of the two dogs is certainly unfortunate. But it need not have happened. A responsible owner would have taken the nec

Re recent articles and letters in your paper about the shooting of dogs and dead poultry in Tagish:

The killing of the two dogs is certainly unfortunate. But it need not have happened.

A responsible owner would have taken the necessary measures to prevent it. And a responsible reporter would have written about both sides of the story and not just tried to be sensational.

This is especially true in this case, where the owner was very well aware that her dogs had a history of killing poultry.

Your reporter made no mention that the owner knew her dog had killed the Teertstras’ birds on a previous occasion.

On that first occasion, 10 chickens and three turkeys were killed. The dog owner made no attempt to offer an apology or to pay restitution for that incident which should have been warning enough to the owner to keep them under control.

This time 29 chickens and five turkeys were killed.

Can you say someone should wait for the next killing?

You also reported some cockamamy nonsense that eight chickens died of fright. On both occasions, they were savagely mauled to death as the photos in your Friday’s article show and the blood on the dog’s legs shows in the first photo.

This time, 10 young pullets (hens) had just reached egg-producing age. It takes five to five and a half months of housing, feeding, and caring for them before you ever see an egg. Dee Teertstra went all last winter without any eggs. Now she just got started again and this happens.

The two hens were Bourbon Reds, a heritage breed, and they were mature breeders. They can command a considerable price on the market. It takes two years for them to reach sexual maturity.

The turkeys were not just run-of-the-mill meat birds either. The tom (male) was a wild turkey. His name was Strut, which is what he liked to do. Dee Teertstra was especially fond of him. Strut survived the initial attack, but his injuries were so severe that he had to be put down. That is just as hard as having to put any pet down.

By the time a person has invested all their time, effort and expense into such a small-scale poultry operation it is quite common that you form an emotional bond with the birds as you get to know them as individuals.

Those birds were Dee’s pets. She was heartbroken over their deaths. Your reporter made it look like Dee’s biggest concern was her monetary loss, which is quite substantial, when in fact it was the maimed and dismembered corpses of her feathered friends that hurt her the most.

I have known John and Dee for a great many years and people don’t come much better than the two of them. John caught the dogs right in the middle of their killing spree. Contrary to your reporting, he promptly got his shotgun and shot both dogs right there on the spot. Then he gathered up the two dogs and all the dead birds and drove over to where the dog owner lives. He deposited them in their driveway. The man, Lee, who was there, said the owner was away and wouldn’t be back until the weekend. Your reporting makes it out that the owner was at home.

John was not carrying a gun. He is not the gun-toting, trigger-happy redneck that the dog owner and your ill-informed reporter portrayed him to be. John has played a very active role in our school, teaching our children the safe and proper way to handle firearms and respect for wildlife.

There are dog-control laws for good reason. I have two dogs of my own, and I take it as my responsibility to control them. Dogs at large are a danger to wildlife, livestock, other pets, children and adults. They are wonderful companions, but should not be allowed to wander at will, packing up, getting pregnant, damaging property, and harassing and killing livestock and wildlife.

I have had personal experiences where marauding dogs on the loose have had to be destroyed. Their owners understood and accepted it without trying to cast the blame somewhere else. Love your dog. Take good care of it. But keep it out of mischief or be prepared to pay the price of losing it.

Rick Halladay

Carcross