Viscous Dog Attacks
Note: this page contains some photographs that may be too graphic for some - they are very difficult for me to look at myself and it has taken me a long time to decide if I should add these photographs. I have come to the conclusion that by adding them - that people may better understand the possible outcome of an attack on their livestock - and for dog owners the possible physical as well as emotional damage their dogs may cause if given the opportunity. By writing this it may save some animals' lives, pain and suffering as well as the emotional toll that it has on us human caregivers.
Brenda (left) and Poquita (right), Poquita baby picture (far right)
It all started when we found one of our small, 21 months old jennets (Lewis Mills Brenda Starr) dead in our pasture that we own - 2 miles down the road from our main farm. She had been just fine before. It was evening just right at dusk when we found her - it had been a warm day and it looked like she had been dead for several hours already. It looked like something had been eating on her back end. Red flags should have gone up especially with the rest of the girls we had pastured a total of 18 acting fairly skiddish. We figured it had something to do with one of their dead friends laying there next to their watering troughs. Besides being shocked about the sudden death - we discussed what could have killed her and figured it had to have been something quick - like colic or maybe she had choked on something being next to the water troughs. We could not find any obvious signs of animals biting her throat which I always thought coyotes or dogs went for. My husband (Freddie) thought that the damage done to her back end must have been by an animal eating on her - possibly after she died? We had nothing to go on and went ahead and buried her since we didn't want coyotes or any other animals to come into the pasture that night to pose a threat to the 17 jennies that were left.
Then on Saturday my husband happened to come home while I was still finishing up feeding. He was going to go to have breakfast with our two oldest children (10 and 14) out at Wrangler's camp where they had stayed the night with the 4-H horse group. He had felt bad not being able to stay the night with them with everybody's else's parent being there - but he had to work until midnight. I told him to stop on his way to check on the "girls" so I wouldn't have to and it was on his way. He carried along our 5 year old daughter. He came flying back into the driveway after 20 minutes or so - "we got another one down!" I just stood there in disbelief while he dialed the Sheriff's office. He was shaking and very upset telling them that two dogs had been attacking our donkeys and to send someone out to take a report. One of the dogs had tried to go after him but he was able to run him off by throwing his baseball cap at him - the only defense he had! He had followed the dogs home and the owners confirmed ownership of the dogs. The Sheriff's office refused to send somebody out since it was a "civil case" and said they would give it on to the animal control officer on Monday! My husband was quiet upset over this and asked if they would have sent somebody out if the dog had bit him or his little girl - if that made a difference.
Freddie told me that he wasn't sure which donkey the dogs had down - all he could see was blood and that she did her best to try to fight them off. I told him I would go back with him - he said for me to stay home - he didn't want me to have to see this. (I am now very thankful since the image would have probably haunted me forever) I knew then that it had to be really bad! He went back down with the microchip scanner and showed the dog owners what their dogs did to our donkey. The man said the dog was "finished" speaking of the German Shepherd, the wife was apparently in shock and wasn't able to say much. Freddie came back home to call the vet to see if they could come out - he wasn't available and was going to call back. He told me that he didn't think she would make it due to the extend of her injuries and that his heart just broke seeing that beautiful frosted face! I knew it was Poquita - the other frosted faced donkey over there was bigger than her - so I just knew since they seem to pick the smaller ones. He gave me her chip number which confirmed that it was Poquita. He went back to give her some pain killer since it was now afterhours at the vet and we didn't know when he would call back. When he got back over there she was in agony having parts of her back end missing. Freddie borrowed a gun from a neighbor to put her out of her misery. The vet called back and said we did the right thing - there was no way she could have survived with this kind of injury. They had never had one that they attempted to treat that pulled through.
I cried all weekend thinking about what these poor little donkeys had to go through. They had been part of our family and they were sweethearts just like the rest of them. I brought Poquita home along with her mother when she was just 2 weeks old and Brenda came to us when she was just weaned at 5 months. I guess this was the first time my little girl really saw me cry since I am not someone that easily cries. She had witnessed the dog's attacking Poquita. She just sat on my lap hugging on me.
Monday morning the animal control officer called. He told me we had the right to shoot the dogs if they ever sat foot on our property again. He was truly very sorry for what had happened. He went to see the dogs' owners and told them their dogs had to be confined at all times. They suddenly were not "that sure that it had been their dogs".
The dogs had attacked a third donkey - a yearling. Sweet Sugarpop had several puncture wounds around her back end and we are treating her flushing her wounds several times a day. She seems to be getting better. She is eating and drinking - so we are hopeful. She has her best friend with her for comfort. It hurts so much having to hurt her to try to get her better. She is really sweet about it all.
So please don't tell people that minis make guard animals. Ours were part of a herd of 18 and could not defend themselves against a German Shepherd and a Retriever/Irish Setter mix (owned by the same people). He kept the donkey from running while the Shepherd did the biting. While miniature donkeys may be able to fend off a non aggressive pet dog that will enter their pasture or keep coyotes out (which in my point of view pose a much lesser danger to our animals than domestic dogs) - they are defenseless toward viscous dog attacks because of their size. I am not speaking for the large standard or mammoth donkeys - but for animals the size of miniature donkeys, miniature lamas etc.
We are hoping to make dog owners aware of the damage dogs can cause to livestock when given the opportunity. Owners should be aware of where their dogs are at all times. I'm not condemning dogs by any means - they just follow their instincts but we as owners need to be able to control our dogs in a way that there will be no harm done to somebody else's beloved pets, livestock or even someone's small child. Owners need to understand that they are responsible for the damage caused by their dogs to others.
We will never be the same after we had to go through this horrific experience - We wish noone else will have to go through something like it ever! Our place is empty feeling without the little pushes and nudges that Poquita and Brenda used to give us because they wanted to be loved on. We will miss Brenda always being in the middle of everything like at hoof trimming time - her resting her head on Freddie's back when he trims the other girls' hooves or her trying to push between the other donkey and him while he trims to get attention, too. I won't forget Poquita chomping down on the dewormer syringe to try to squeeze some extra out! Her sweet face that just looks like her mother will be sadly missed. I could go on and on about the things we will miss by not having Brenda and Poquita with us anymore.
We are glad to report that Sugarpop after more that two weeks of treatment is doing better - we are dealing with one puncture wound still that was particularly nasty. She hates the shots and hides behind her friend when she sees my husband coming with the shots. Poor little girl is full with knots from where we had to poke her over and over. We couldn't give her the shots into her back end for the first 10 days because of the wounds. She had holes that were connected - when we flushed out her wounds we could flush into one hole and the stuff would come out of several different holes.
If you scroll down past the bottom links of this page there are a couple of pictures of Poquita's injuries. Pictures are not three-dimensional and don't show the true extend of the injuries. Anyone would agree though, that that poor little donkey suffered immensely before she was put out of her misery and no animal should have to ever have to suffer through this. In the wild animals kill to survive - to be able to eat - most are swift killers! Those dogs were not - it was more of a sport to them to tear her up alive! It was very difficult for me to add the pictures but felt that it may be necessary to show the extend of the injuries that a dog can cause to a little donkey.
Poquita was 29 1/2" at 21 months and Brenda was 27 3/4" at 21 months of age. Sugarpop was 29 1/2" at the time of the attack as well.
Update: We are very sad to report that Sweet Sugarpop lost her battle for survival in the end - 2 1/2 months after the attack, Christmas 2005. Her outside wounds had healed but apparently there was more on the inside that we could not see. We should have had a necropsy done but I was so emotionally drained that I could not put her poor little body through even more.
Viscous Dog Attacks (contains a disturbing picture)
since 25. Oct. 2005
Last modified: 04/01/13 09:47 PM
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