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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:56 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:55 am
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Hi everyone,
I'm looking for some advice on a dog attack. I've only got a few hens, which I let out of the coop to free range in my backyard after work and on the weekend. Over the past few weeks i've had my 2 silkies killed on separate occasions. The first time I left the house for maybe 30min during the day. I left them out in the garden but when I come home I found my other hens had flown over the fence to escape but my silkie was dead out the front of my house (an area they never go to). She had wounds but her body wasn't eaten.

To make it safer (or so I thought) I decided to only let them out when I was at home, I assumed that I would hear them cackling if there was any problems but nope, a week later my 2nd silkie was gone. I never found her body, but my other hens had flown over the neighbours fence so I think something chased them around first.

I got 2 new chicks - just 3 weeks old and I also bought a cheap wildlife camera on ebay (definitely recommend one of these!) to catch the culprit and now only let the chooks out while I am sitting there with them. I had the chicks set up in a separate coop - one of those wood frame ones that you can buy flat packed, set up on bricks so nothing could dig under. I come home from work this afternoon to find both my chicks dead, not eaten, outside the coop, with the mesh of the coop pushed in and bent. My quail coop was in the same state, though they survived. I checked my camera and there were 2 huge dogs in my yard. I don't know much about dogs but they kind of looked rottweiler/mastiff -ish...the kind you wouldn't want to come across without a giant fence between you and them. They ended up spending over an hour in my yard killing my chicks and destroying my coops.

I'm really upset that even now my chickens arn't safe and i'm not sure what else I can do about stopping these dogs besides some heavy duty fences around my coops... These dogs were incredibly strong to get through that wire, I tried to push my foot through and even stood on top of the top panel but it held my weight fine... I don't know who owns these dogs, i've wandered around looking for them but can't see them in the neighbouring streets. They looked healthy and well fed, but no collars. Is there anything I can do or anyone I can notify if I can't find them now?

It's so annoying that some lousy pet owner has now cost me 4 (very loved) chooks and 2 coops that are now bent and ruined. Also the cost of installing further fencing on my block..


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:14 am 
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Golden Swan
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Firstly contact the council with a copy of your video and put in a complaint (in writing). Secondly you will need to dog proof either your yard or your coops. No you shouldnt have to, but if you want to protect your birds you do. The dogs shouldnt be out and in your yard, but if the dogs can break in, so can foxes (and they are in suburban areas too)

It is a terrible thing to happen and I really hope the council can do something about the dogs.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:01 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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That is a horrible (but unfortunately not unusual) thing to happen. The cam was a wise move.

As Nellie said show the pics to the local council - insist on speaking to the ranger, it is possible that they will recognize the dogs. Express your concern about the public risk, insist on you complaint being logged and ask for an incident number to assure them that you mean business. (Sometimes councils can take the attitude that it was only a couple of chooks). Tell them that you want to know the outcome of their follow up and expect compensation from the dog owners. (value of livestock, damage to property and cost of installing the cam would be reasonable).
If council does not seem interested, tell them that you will be writing to the local paper (with pics).
Yes you will need additional security for your chooks, you shouldn't have to - what you had should have been perfectly adequate, but unless these dogs are dealt with they will keep returning and are a public risk.
Maybe do a letter box drop with pics? Some one will know of them. At the very least it might prompt the owners to control them.
Take this seriously and be proactive.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:46 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Agree with the advice already given. Just want to also say that I'm really sorry that you have had this terrible experience.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 2:30 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Thanks everyone. I'll call council on Monday when they are open again. I think i'll also print some pictures of the dogs and put them in the neighbours mailboxes asking them to keep an eye out and report them. It's frustrating not knowing where these dogs come from.

I've just spent $500 on some fencing equipment. My chooks will now be housed within 3 layers of fences. I've had several of those flat pack cages over the years and never had an issue with foxes getting into them as long as they can't dig under. I never expected such a large animal to be an issue..


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:05 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Good luck! Let us know how you get on :-)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:02 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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I just spoke to a ranger at the council and they are pretty sure they know where these dogs are from as they are known wanderers. They have been reported a few times for getting into peoples properties but never for killing animals. She said that because I have images on the dogs on my property that she is able to approach the owners about containing their dogs (which has happened in the past reports but obviously hasn't worked...).

If I had images of the dogs in the act of killing my chickens, or an eye witness account then she could have seized the dogs and the owners would have to go to court, but unfortunately I don't have this. The wildlife camera I had detects movement so I can't point them at the chook pen otherwise it will record the chooks moving around all day and run out of memory...

She also told me that these dogs are known to be very athletic and fences generally don't keep them out, so she thought that the fences I am building probably won't do much good.

She's going to talk to the owners but i'm not holding out much hope for anything happening :(


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:31 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Put the camera so that it faces/Views the side of the pen (views along the wall) and hopefully the chooks wont set it off but the dogs breaking in it will. I have had in the past had a dog break into my avairy and kill most of the birds, caught in the act. I took care of the dog myself, not saying that you try this as they are 2 large dogs. They will kill again now that they have the taste for it.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:35 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Grr, that's a pretty poor response from the council, but none too surprising. My sister had two dogs break through a fence into her backyard and kill her small dog (she came home to it in one of their mouths like a toy), and the council did nothing bar a small token fine for the neighbours. :-x

Can you put up an electric fence around your pen? Given how big they are a good jolt of electricity might be the only thing to put them off. That of course is just another expense though.

I'd try to get the owners contact details from the council and put together a claim for small claims court for the cost of the property damage and loss of animals. Hell, you could even threaten to take the council to court given they haven't done anything to stop the dogs wandering either and they know they are an issue.

Whatever happens from here out, I hope you get something, but knowing how dodgy some councils are, ...well, ugh. I'm sorry you lost your chooks. Best of luck.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:07 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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At least the dogs have been identified - that's a start.
Would some shade mesh between the chooks and the camera work?

We had a local situation a couple of years ago. Some sheep were constantly getting out and on to the road verges. On day I came across a neighbor herding them out of his gate. When I said that he couldn't just put them out on the road I was abused. I rang the council and was told that unless the ranger saw them off their property the council could do nothing. If they caught the sheep - off their property - they could impound them. (seems to me that your ranger can see these dogs off their property). I asked the council who would be responsible if the sheep caused an accident - the owner for not containing them, my neighbor for putting them off his property or the council for failing to take action?
Perhaps it was co incidence but within a week the property had new fences.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:50 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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They were back again today! Luckily the didn't get to kill anything but again my quail coop is bent up. I've sent the camera images and video off to council again. I'm holding out hope that if they get enough instances of these dogs being out that they may do something. I hate knowing that they could show up anytime.No way I could do anything about a 60kg american bulldog and mastiff terrier in kill mode if I encountered them.

My sister sells electric fence equipment so I'm trying to get a freebie. Does anyone know if there are any restrictions on running these in suburbia? We are on a half acre block so not super close to neighbours. I would like to put one around the area my chooks free range, rather than just the coop.

If anyone is interested, this is the security camera I got http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/322314878541 ... EBIDX%3AIT
It takes good clear pictures and a 15 second video when it detects motion and it can also take pictures in the dark. Unfortunately it can't send any notification to you when it detects something (you just need to check the card at the end of the day and clear off the images), though I am looking into a second camera that can use 3G to send you an SMS when it sees something.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 10:18 pm 
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Golden Swan
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Location: Albany, Western Australia
I understand that (in my area anyway) you can use electric fences wherever you like but NOT on the boundary in suburbia. But you can have it inside you fence. That way no one can touch it unless they are on your property. I use an electric netting one (though I am no 4 acres) and it seems to work well. The cats were curious at first but now stay well away (I imagine there were a few zapped noses, but unfortunately I didn't see it lol). I don't know if the foxes have been around or not as I haven't seen any, but I definitely haven't lost any chooks. I did have to clip a few wings as several flew out when startled! IF you can surround the chooks area totally with electric netting I think it might teach the dogs a firm lesson and keep your chooks safe. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:10 am 
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Prime Pekin
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0ochello0 wrote:
Hi everyone,
I'm looking for some advice on a dog attack. ... bought a cheap wildlife camera on ebay (definitely recommend one of these!) to catch the culprit .... I checked my camera and there were 2 huge dogs in my yard. I don't know much about dogs but they kind of looked rottweiler/mastiff -ish...the kind you wouldn't want to come across without a giant fence between you and them. They ended up spending over an hour in my yard killing my chicks and destroying my coops.
.


Hi Oochello
first of all very sorry to hear of your losses. Secondly, just wanting to clarify what exactly it was that your camera captured in terms of the dogs' behaviour?

I am quite surprised with the (apparent lack of ) response you had from the council, so my third question is - what exactly did the council actually do? Did they have any contact the dogs' owners what so ever?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:57 am 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:55 am
Posts: 37
Quote:
just wanting to clarify what exactly it was that your camera captured in terms of the dogs' behaviour?


I've got the camera set up between my 2 coops. Neither coop is in view (the camera field of view isn't wide enough and the chooks movement would set it off all day and use up the memory card). From this camera I have about 12 images of the dogs as they run past the camera backwards and forwards between my coops. They were only about 1m in front of it so the images are very clear in terms of working out exactly what kind of dogs they are etc, but none of the images show them killing the chooks as this wasn't in the camera field of view. Hence the council can identify the dogs from my pictures, and can say for sure that they were in my yard on the day I said they were (the camera puts date and time stamps on the pictures), but they can't prove that the dogs killed my chooks based on these pictures.

Quote:
what exactly did the council actually do? Did they have any contact the dogs' owners what so ever?


The ranger recognises the dogs from my pictures, so knows where they are from and who owns them. Apparently they are repeat offenders. She said that because my images are so clear she will be able to use them to infringe the owner for the dogs wandering at large. But because I don't have any eye witness accounts or video of the dogs killing she can't seize the dogs (owners would face court).

So she is going to talk to the owners, i'm not sure when. She's also going to get a statement from me. So I guess they'll just get a fine? I don't imaging a wandering dog fine is very much. I'll let you know when she contacts me again.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:43 am 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Location: Victoria
Don't wait for them to call you back. Keep on top of them so they keep on top of the issue.


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