Animal attacks game birds in East Valley | RecordCourier.com
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Animal attacks game birds in East Valley

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

An East Valley woman awoke to carnage Tuesday morning when she discovered several birds from her game bird farm had been slaughtered.

“We’ve raised birds here since 1989-90 and never had problems with dogs before,” said Mary O’Neal. “Our biggest predators are usually hawks and owls, but this is the second dog incident we’ve had in two weeks.”

Douglas County Animal Control Supervisor Rhonda Moore said the scene was pretty bad when she arrived. She estimated the attack occurred between 6 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s just a bloodbath out there,” Moore said. “I walked and tracked, and there are bodies everywhere. The way it came into the fence and just killed the chukar – there were so many that were just killed and left – it was a terrible, deadly game. There were still some birds walking around with broken legs and some were still smashed into the fence.”

Moore said she had been at the O’Neals two weeks ago on another dog attack, this time by a neighbor’s husky that Mary trapped after finding it killing chukar. At that time, 15 birds died and the owners of that dog paid for the damages.

“We went to that dog’s yard today and the people were not home, but the dog was inside the fence,” Moore said, adding that officers would be visiting that dog’s owners later to discuss Tuesday’s incident.

“Unless we actually catch a dog in the act, it’s hard to prove which dog did the killing,” she said. “The tracks we found today were pretty small.”

Moore said she was sure it was a domestic dog that killed the birds.

“Coyotes don’t kill just for fun – typically they kill to eat,” she said. “Also, they take their carcasses with them.”

Moore said she will set a live trap at the O’Neals to try and catch the killer if it returns. County law gives livestock owners the right to kill any animal – wild or domestic – that “worries” or otherwise harms their livestock.

O’Neal estimated her losses at around $1,500. Chukars run around $20 per bird, Moore said.

“We lost a lot of money last night,” O’Neal said. “Whatever it was just chewed a hole in the fence and started killing. It’s heartbreaking.”