Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When predators walk on two legs

Predators have been on my mind lately. Shetland breeder Carol Kelly has lost three lambs this spring, to coyotes most likely, and Maryellen has lost both lambs and a full-grown ram without a trace. I have two little lambs arriving on Friday who will need to be in quarantine for a few weeks, and I want to make sure they survive to eventually share the sheep fold at night with the rest of my little flock.

Tonight after Brian went to bed, Rick was sharing about his tough day. In addition to a neglect case the sheriff had called him out on, he said a good client had a horse shot in her pasture today. Not just any horse, but her daughter's miniature horse that was supposed to leave for a show tomorrow with his young owner. There were visible signs that someone had climbed over the fence from the road and walked through the tall grass to do the dirty deed, probably up close and personal, in broad daylight. The horse was shot in the eye, with metal fragments lodged inside the opposite ear. The other miniature horse in the pasture had what looked like a graze mark across the bottom of its jaw.

Law enforcement was called, of course, but the officer doubted the perp would ever be caught. More important things to spend the department's time and money on, you know. Really? If someone -- an angry neighbor, perhaps -- did this as a threat, what might they do next? The client runs a rehabilitation and foaling facility and therefore has other people's horses on her property, not to mention her own two young children. Would someone who would walk up to a little girl's pony and shoot it in the head stop there? Oh that coyotes, even mountain lions, were all we had to worry about!

Thinking troubled thoughts at . . .

5 comments:

Tina T-P said...

Oh, how heartbreaking for that child to lose their pet, and their innocence all at the same time. We've had people do that up here -seemingly a horrible cruel prank - shooting a beloved family pet llama right as it slept in it's enclosure. Very sad, indeed and distressing for all involved, especially your husband who spends his time healing. T.

melanie said...

Oh, Michelle- what an awful thing to happen. My heart goes out to that little girl and her family...I have watched our own daughter grieve over her animals, and at least there was no sick human intent involved in their death, just animals being animals. I wish there was something tangible we could do to help her, and to get the rotten S.O.B. that can do that sort of thing...at least to stop them from doing any more harm.

Well, I CAN at least take that story forward through my day, and help put into perspective some of the relatively minor misery I am going to encounter.

Go overboard on security and safety with your new little lambs. I have certainly learned the lesson that no fence is secure enough...

Kathy L. said...

If we didn't put up our stock (sheep and chickens) every night into the barn with closed predator proof doors (heavy fraes with welded wire over them - very open for air, but keeps out the riff-raff) we'd lose everything in a very short time. As soon as Ralph can transfer the photos, I will be blogging something like this too. Are we having an epidemic of predator problems?
I know that "forgiveness" is an important thing in our lives...but I'd "forgive" these people only when we do to them what they do to our animals. My thoughts and prayers are with the little girls, Carol and all the other shepherds we know who've lost these precious creatures entrusted into our care.

shepherdchik said...

Michelle: yikes. Yes, I'll take the coyotes over that anyday. I'm always worried about the teenagers opening my gates and letting them onto the highway just for fun, though that has never happened (but I have a vivid imagination). I cannot imagine how that poor girl must feel losing her horse like that! People are definitely the worst predators.

Lauren said...

Every once in a while around here, we hear in the news about a rash of horse or dog shootings and it never ceases to astonish me. Since we as shepherds and friends tend to be caring people, especially where our animals are concerned, I think these things shock us all the more. It's terrible and I feel tremendous sorrow for the little girl to have to learn that some "people" are mean and evil at such an early age.