Letter: Be responsible pet owners

It warms our hearts when we see successful drives for pet adoption; we feel good. Dogs are wonderful animals; they make great companions and can be great service animals. They are charming and lovable; they make us feel good, but they are predators. When dogs are successfully adopted out and well maintained, it is a win, win, situation, but if they are left to run, bark, annoy and damage, it costs the county big bucks.

Last Wednesday morning, I was awakened by the loud braying of my burro. She is normally quiet so I immediately suspected something was wrong. I went to the front door and looked out, and as it was a fullish moon, I could see a large white dog go across my front yard. I ran in and put on my shoes and grabbed a rake before running to the barnyard. There I found another dog and could hear the peeping of chicks and upset chickens.

After chasing the dogs off my property (they jumped the gate), I went and sat on the front porch as a sentinel until it was light enough to really survey the damage. At last I went to check to see what had happened. What a massacre! My beautiful birds fallen, strewn about the chicken yard, lifeless staring lumps of bloody feathers. I stood crying and my burro and mustang hovered close, watching me with sad eyes. When I finally composed myself, I began to bag the bodies and clean up. I love chickens and poultry, their bright busy attitudes cheer me. My day starts when I go to feed the mustang and burro and open the chicken yard to let them free-range. They make me happy and they lay bright, colorful eggs.

I had ordered chicks in January and raised these chickens by hand since February. A crockpot kept them warm and now these pullets were just starting to lay good. I would soon sell some eggs to friends and neighbors - a worthwhile project. I also have peacocks which wander my grounds, but because the momma peahens had recently had chicks, they were not roosting on the chickenhouse roof but in the henhouse, "safe" at night, so I thought. In the evening, the last thing I do is shut the chickenhouse door.

I took my bagged bodies and went to Animal Control, filled out a report, and then went to the dump where I paid for the disposal. Animal Control came out and I described the dogs and had already talked to neighbors and had a home address for the offending dogs. They picked up one dog that was running loose. The next morning the dogs were back; this time I followed them home and got a clear view of the offending dogs. I called Animal Control. I was told they would pick up the dogs. A week later, I went to my chicken yard and found the door pushed in. My male peacock was dead, orphan baby chicks were dead and I again had to go through the reports, grieving and cleaning up.

Yes, dogs are wonderful animals and they make us feel good but if you can't afford proper care of the animals, don't get them; don't be tempted by their charming personalities.

Anna Lorraine

Golden Valle