Mixed Emotions..

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Yesterday was a bad day for the urban farm. One of my neighbors has a Dodson who got off her runner. She got into our chain link fenced backyard and started attacking chickens. Michael saw it first, but it didn’t take the rest of us long to figure things out as he ran out the back door yelling. By this point the dog had Pepper, our 4 month old Barred Rock, down by the neck. If it wasn’t broken, it was close. There was a terrible hole in her neck. No, this was not supposed to be happening. This can’t be happening. It was and it got worse. Michael tried to grab Pepper away and Nikki, the dog, bit him. He kicked her at this point. We don’t know this dog. His hand bit, Pepper trying to stand, blood everywhere, kids screaming.. he kicked the dog off of her and I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing.

The dog died instantly. Are you KIDDING me? This is really happening right now? The kids ran to see if the dog’s owners were home, while Michael had to put Pepper down. Her neck was broken. This is, was my favorite hen. She hasn’t even started laying yet. Why the HELL was that dog in my yard. I watched Michael hold her feet, slit her throat and hold her as the life drained away. She finally quit flapping. I mean I knew we would one day eat these chickens. We’ve been plotting the roosters death for weeks. But it wasn’t supposed to go like this. These were unnecessary deaths. Tears rolled downed my face.

Nikki’s owners weren’t home, but by now every neighborhood kid knows and a mass greeting when they did get home is exactly what I wanted to avoid. They have a little girl in fourth grade and a son in ninth. The dog was with them a lot and I knew was close to all of the family, that this would be really hard for them as well.And I just made friends with their mom, she offered to let Sydni ride to the bus stop not only when it rained or snowed , but every morning now that it had gotten cold. We had just passed down shoes, jeans and sweaters to Ashton, which worked out perfect. Why did this happen.. You know, I thought what if the dog hadn’t died. Pepper would just be dead. I wouldn’t worry they may be mad at Sydni for some weird reason. I’m so confused about this..

This is definitely one of the problems of urban farming. I grew up on a real farm and if any dog, no matter owner, even came into our yard, it would have been shot. They stress the animals at the very least. The owner would be saying they were sorry. I wouldn’t be feeling this bad. I’ve just beat myself up and that’s nothing compared to what Michael has felt. Even though his dad is one of those shoot on site and he doesn’t even have any animals. His answer is he has kids and I can’t argue with that either. And he would expect an apology for the bullet wasted as well. (He was the first person Michael called) We wanted to call animal control at first to make sure we weren’t liable for anything. I think I was just so freaked out. But then my second thought was I didn’t want the neighbors to get in any trouble because the dog was on no leash and it bit Michael. Torn.. word of the day. Why am I feeling so bad when this dog came into my fenced back yard, killed my chicken in front of my three kids and nobody said sorry to me when I must have apologized twenty times. But I do feel bad, I feel terrible and you know, I’m not really apologizing for Michael kicking the dog, but just that little girl’s dog is dead. Why was it out, geez. What a mess.

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12 thoughts on “Mixed Emotions..

  1. OMG. My heart breaks for the family. No one wants to cause the death of a child’s pet, but you are so right in that you should not be the only one apologizing. Their dog broke his tether and somehow trespassed into your chain-link yard. Though you did intend to ultimately eat your hens, your children had to watch this carnage.

    I have lived in the city and used to go crazy when people did not pick up after their dogs b/c I considered as sign of irresponsibility, as bad a dogs running free.

    I now live in the country and you are right we do look at dogs differently. If they cross the line, then they can be shot and the only person responsible for their dead dog is the owner. A neighbor’s black lab got into the chicken yard, fortunately he was goofy and slow and no lost chickens. When I called her she profusely apologized that he had somehow gotten loose and said he did it again that she understood if I shot him that I was well within my rights.

    I wish comfort as you cope with this all.

  2. Of course you feel some kind of way… Your human dealing with life and death. No matter how significant. The life of your pepper was just as important to your family as the life of their dog. The dog was doing what his instincts told him to do. However once he bit Micheal, The animal crossed the line and he got the taste of human blood and that’s not a good thing… The world has changed so much today that we put move value on our pets than our neighbors, families and our livelihood… your food. So your right there was a time when homesteaders wouldn’t have thought twice about right or wrong in the handling of the situation. Take it up in prayer… apologizing is not always admitting your wrong… It just means your humbling yourself and being the bigger person by forgiving those that trespass against you and forgiving yourself. And always remember! THIS TO SHALL PASS… Keep up the good fight. keep doing whats right. keep inspiring the new comers like me :o) BELIEVE!

  3. Some things are unavoidable, but dammit this is a tough situation no matter whos side you take… Did exactly what I would have done though… As more and more “urban dwellers” get turned on to “city chickens” this will become a more common problem… I will be thinking about this for the rest of the afternoon – Sorry to you and yours…

  4. Feeling sorry for the loss the other family experienced, regardless of their fault in the situation, proves you’re human.

    It’s similar, though on a profoundly different scale, to empathizing with the family of a criminal who is killed during a violent crime.

    Sorry that you and your family had to go through that.

  5. What a horrible tragic story. I’m late here, obviously, but I’m really hoping that you’ve all recovered from the trauma. It reminded me of when I nearly killed a dog in front of my children (after he had just attacked my daughter). The timing of its owner coming out when he did was terribly good (I had the dog cornered and was about to strike), or I would have otherwise further traumatized my kids with mindless action spurned from the adrenaline raging through my veins. I do feel for your family. Time is the best healer.

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