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Dogs have killed my hen
19

OhWesternWind · 11/10/2010 07:32

I am so upset. Our neighbours' horrible vicious dogs escaped from their garden yesterday and got into ours, got into our hen enclosure and grabbed one of our hens and killed her. I was about 10 metres away up the garden and could do nothing. I had to kick them away and hit them with a brush to get to her and she died in my arms. The dogs were very frightening.

These are the same dogs that have bitten/nipped my daughter when our neighbours invited her in to their house, and have also jumped on my son when he was age 3 and have permanently scarred him on his chest. And now this! My neighbour came round to apologise and I told her that the dogs were dangerous and that they needed to go, but she was just saying "But they're good dogs really". No they're not. And what next? More of our hens? Our elderly cats? The children again?

Luckily the other hens were fine, they managed to run and hide in the bushes in their run. It could have been a lot worse. But I really loved our Nutmeg. She was a poor ex-battery hen and had just found her chance of a bit of happiness. It is so sad. Actually, I am sad and angry.

Any ideas of how this can be sorted out? I have asked dp to speak to the neighbours tonight but he is not sure what to say. I can't do it as I am too emotional about all this.

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rainbowinthesky · 11/10/2010 07:36

I assume you reported it to the police when your daughter was bitten and your son permanently scarred. Go back to them.

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Theincrediblesulk1 · 11/10/2010 07:45

get a big fence? or your own dog! how did it get into your garden?

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OhWesternWind · 11/10/2010 07:45

No, we didn't report it to the police, we should have done with hindsight. Would the police do something now after they've killed Nutmeg?

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rainbowinthesky · 11/10/2010 08:13

I wouldnt have thought they'd be interested in a hen but probably your kids!

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VivaLeBeaver · 11/10/2010 08:19

The police will talk to them, but I don't think they can actually do much as its a hen not a child. If you'd reported it after it had bitten both your children it would probably have been put down.

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OhWesternWind · 11/10/2010 08:56

I am really gutted about this. It is so so sad. She wasn't just an "egg hen", she was our pet and the children are so upset about what has happened.

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marge2 · 11/10/2010 14:37

Poor you. Same thing happened to our 'Superman' in the summer. Our neighbours have been good enough to improve the fencing and it hasn't happened again. When I posted on here abuot it I got a whole load of dog lovers saying basically it's a dogs instinct and it doesn't mean it is viscious. My neighbour was still trying to tell me her dogs were old softies and really friendly too, even with them growing at me as she was saying it. Yeah right!!

I thinkn your best bet is to ask your neighbour to beef up the fencing, even if it isn't 'their' fence iykwim.

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AnotherYear · 11/10/2010 14:41

They are obviously not 'good' dogs, in that they haven't been well trained at all. The fact that the dogs have hurt your children means that they (the owners) are not to be trusted. Why didn't you report the bites on your DC to the police?

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OhWesternWind · 12/10/2010 07:34

To be honest, I am really disappointed by this forum. I am deeply upset by the death of my lovely hen Nutmeg and had thought I might get some sympathy and understanding at the loss of a dearly loved pet (thank you marge2!) but what I have mainly got is terse interrogative responses which seem to be putting the blame on me. So much for a supportive forum.

Like I said in my first post, only one of our children was bitten - this was a nip type of bite (again, I said this clearly in my first post) and to be honest our neighbours were so apologetic and made all sorts of promises that first of all we didn't think it was serious enough to report and secondly we believed that this was a one-off and that they would sort the dogs out. At this stage the dogs were relatively new and they had got them in a training class.

The second incident like I said was not a bite but an incident where the dog jumped on my young son - it was going for him but it was when the neighbour had it out on a lead so it ended up just jumping on him and scratched him deeply so that he has what I think will be permanent scars - they are there 18 months later anyway. We didn't report this as there was no biting and we didn't think the police would do anything about a dog jumping on a child.

Again there were lots of promises but we didn't believe them.

The neighbours have improved their fencing but these dogs are so quick and small that they can get through any gap. I have seen one of them jump out of my neighbour's arms right over the fence.

These are bad, dangerous dogs. I have told my neighbour this but she just said "Oh, they are good dogs really".

Our neighbour came round last night and we asked her to keep the dogs muzzled when they are in the garden but she refused as she didn't think it was fair on them. Well, how about fair to our hens? She made more promises that the dogs wouldn't get out again but they are just meaningless. I have no idea now how to go forward with this. We don't have enough money to be able to construct a large dog-proof run. The hens have a secure run around 6m long attached to their coop but when we are at home we let them out in an area of the garden we have fenced off with chicken wire, which is where they were when the dogs attacked. So what are we supposed to do, keep them confined in their small run? I just don't know what to do now.

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rainbowinthesky · 12/10/2010 07:40

But in your op you said they had bitten/nipped your daughter and jumped on your 3 year old and permanently scarred him. Sorry, but I have dogs and couldnt understand from this information why it wasnt reported to the police. You've just said the dog went for your 3 year old which I assume was an attack that got stopped in it's tracks apart from permanent scarring. I wouldnt be worrying about the chicken, honestly.
I still suggest you have a chat with the police.

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rainbowinthesky · 12/10/2010 07:41

Surely if they are bad dangerous dogs who can easily get into your garden you must be afraid for your children still so surely the only thing to do is report to the police,no?

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marriednotdead · 12/10/2010 07:46

Of course it is sad that you have lost a pet, and I think the sympathy goes unsaid.

However, most of the posts are offering practical suggestions to avoid further distress or a repeat of previous incidents.
Your DCs would obviously take priority over your animals.

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RustyBear · 12/10/2010 07:49

Thing about MN as opposed to some 'fluffier' sites is that you get good advice rather than just virtual hugs and sympathy - I know which I'd consider more supportive. And I can't see any posts putting the blame on you;I think you are misinterpreting them.

I'm sorry about your hen, the loss of a pet is always horrible. Sad

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Pootles2010 · 12/10/2010 07:52

Poor you OP. I agree they do sound nasty - its not neccessarily their instinct - our family's dogs regularly 'play' with neighbours chickens that get into their garden, they go loopy when they see them, round them up, but then don't know what to do with them - they've never harmed them, or looked like it would even occur to them.

I would talk to neighbours again - explain that you understand the importance of pets, and how they're part of the family, but you would appreciate them understanding its the same for your hens. Say fair enough to not muzzleing them, but that they must make the fence absolutely escape-proof, and that if it happens again you will go to the police. Hopefully that might make them buck their ideas up.

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BeerTricksPotter · 12/10/2010 07:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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Tippychoocks · 12/10/2010 07:57

The last two threads on this recently concluded that as hens were livestock then the Police would get involved with dogs worrying them. Certainly call them and/or DEFRA for advice.
Unfortunately there isn't a good ending here - either your neighbour moves, gets rid of the dogs or puts up the mother of all fences. You may have to make her do one of the above and that won't improve relations. Tbh, if the dogs have got in before and you have cats and children to worry about as well, I would push things forward with the fence now. The neighbours are going to have to pay for a 6 foot secure fence, on their side if it involves coming before a hedge or similar, if they cannot stop their animals from getting into your garden. If they are getting out then it is the neighbours responsibility to keep them in, asking her to keep them muzzled is not practical.

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OhWesternWind · 12/10/2010 08:24

Thank you for your kind messages and sorry for my last post - I think I was over-reacting. I'm not on top form at the moment and may be a bit sensitive to all things hen-related!

Tippychooks, I think you are right that there is not a good way out of this, and that's probably one of the worst things about this whole mess. We have been neighbours with these people for ten years and have got on brilliantly, have keys for each other's houses, swap plants and veg (and eggs!!) over the fence etc etc and all that is looking like it will go down the pan too.

That is very interesting about hens being livestock. Dp knows the local policeman and is going to ask him for his advice, so we will see what he says about it. I would really rather resolve this without the police though as that would really kill any friendship with our neighbours. I will, though, go to the police if the neighbours don't sort things out in a proper manner.

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Buttoneyedmum · 12/10/2010 09:29

I am new to chickens and to posting on MN, But as a new chicken keeper i have been looking at various websites and found some info you might fing useful (my neighbours have dogs, so I'm arming myself with some info just in case)

Not sure if i can do links, but here goes
www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/pets/cruelty/documents/dogs-guide-enforcers.pdf

I have copied and pasted one part:
Dogs Act 1871
Although over 100 years old now this Act is possibly the most effective piece of dog control
legislation available to enforcers. Civil proceedings are brought at a Magistrates? Court and this
can be done by the police, local authorities, or individual members of the public.
This legislation should always be taken into consideration when enforcers are investigating any
incidents relating to dogs or when concerns are raised over an allegation of irresponsible dog
ownership. Furthermore, it can be particularly effective when dealing with attacks on other
domestic pets or livestock.
Section 2
Section 2 requires that the owner is brought before a Magistrates? court on a complaint and if the
Magistrate is satisfied that the complaint is justified they can make any order they feel appropriate
to require the owner to ensure that the dog is kept under proper control or in extreme cases
destroyed. Importantly this is regardless of whether the dog is in a private or public place. Note
proceedings must be commenced by way of a complaint


I am sorry you have lost one of your chickens, I have have only had mine for just over a week and I would be devastated if this happened.

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Tippychoocks · 12/10/2010 13:10

Absolutely - I wasn't suggesting calling the Police to ask them to shout at the neighbours, more to clarify your position. Then perhaps you could point the facts out calmly and reach an agreement. I don't think muzzling is the way, sorry. Fences, proper big board ones with no gaps, would be the only way out of a difficult situation it seems.

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