Every now and then you come across a story that is going to engender some strong response on both sides of the issue. Such was the case recently as I was reading the latest post over at the “Living With Birddogs” blog about a field trial pointer who got lost and was eventually shot and killed by a local landowner.

From the Living With Birddogs post:_
During the 13th brace of the National Am Chukar SD CH in Reno, IB Fenway was lost and subsequently shot and killed by an area landowner who is a practicing veterinarian…Although Fenway was wearing a Garmin tracking collar, Torben (the dog’s handler) and Nard (the dog’s owner) were never able to pick up a signal. In all likelihood, the Astro 220 had not been properly tuned to the specific collar that Fenway was wearing. According to Dr. Scott A. Thompson, Fenway attacked some of his free-range, egg-laying chickens, killing 7 of them, and then “charged” Dr. Thompson when he attempted to intervene. Dr. Thompson is a 1976 graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and owns and operates a 3-veterinarian specialty practice in Reno (Feline Medical Center) that is limited to cats._

“…Although Fenway was wearing both a tracking collar and a regular collar with Nard Bailey’s (the dog’s owner) name, address and phone number on it, Dr. Thompson never contacted Nard to advise him about what had happened to his dog. Nard and Torben did not learn about Fenway’s fate until more than 24 hours after Fenway had disappeared. As of the present time, Dr. Thompson is refusing to return Fenway’s remains or his tracking collar, and is threatening Nard Bailey with a $4,500 lawsuit for the loss of 7 chickens. In fact, the damages may well exceed $4,500, should it be determined that the psyches of Dr. Thompson’s 2 cows have been permanently damaged by the commotion caused by Fenway’s actions. The dollar value of the claim is said to be based upon the value of the “organic, free range eggs” the chickens would have been expected to produce, if they had been allowed to have live out their normal life expectancies.

The issue of dogs running or killing livestock is one that always brings a heated discussion. I live in a rural area, I know quite a few farmers and ranchers and I own dogs, so I can certainly see both sides of the issue, but what about this case? Was the landowner justified? Were there some extenuating circumstances that dictated he could have perhaps handled the situation better? I certainly have my thoughts on the issue, but I’d like to hear yours. What if it was your dog?