Dogs kill pet at Dumont Lake

Officials: Be aware when hiking in national forest

Advertisement

photo

Courtesy photo

Pepper, a 5-year-old Labrador retriever-pit bull mix, was killed Monday at Dumont Lake in the Routt National Forest by five Great Pyrenees sheep guard dogs.

photo

File photo

A pack of Great Pyrenees dogs, like the one shown here, attacked and killed a 5-year-old Labrador retriever-pit bull mix Monday near Dumont Lake. The attack prompted Forest Service officials to warn the public about the presence of the guard dogs, which are bred to protect large flocks of sheep from predators.

Rob Shoaf was hiking near Dumont Lake on Labor Day with his dog, Pepper, when the 5-year-old Labrador retriever-pit bull mix trotted over a hill and toward a band of sheep.

Moments later, Shoaf was holding his dying pet in his arms after Pepper was attacked by a pack of five Great Pyrenees sheep guard dogs.

"I saw her go in that direction. I called her back. I saw the sheep, and I saw the Pyrenees sprinting toward her," Shoaf said Wednesday. "They were not but 50 feet from me. It was over in 60 seconds."

Shoaf said he and Pepper were about 100 yards from Dumont Lake and 300 yards from the parking lot when the attack occurred at the popular recreation area near Rabbit Ears Pass.

"Five of them were tugging on her in all directions," Shoaf said. He said no herder was present at the time of the attack.

"One had a firm grip on her right hip. The other one had her front shoulder, and the other had her leg," he said. "They kept tugging on her stomach. One would dive in there and pound away. By the time I got there, it was a frenzy."

Shoaf said the dogs scattered once he was within 10 feet of Pepper, who suffered massive internal organ damage and deep gashes to her body.

"She was screaming and crying," he said. "I scooped her off the dirt, I carried her down to the vet to save her life, but she couldn't even lay down in the car because her midsection was pummeled so hard.

"It was horrible. She was in so much pain."

Pepper died a few hours later at Pet Kare Clinic.

"Pyrenees are not typically an aggressive dog, but they can be well-trained and very independent to be programmed to do their job," said Dr. Craig Stanton, who treated Pepper at Pet Kare Clinic. He said the breed can grow up to 120 pounds.

"They are a working dog, and their instinct is to protect the sheep," Stanton said. "If they are properly socialized and not trained for attack, then I wouldn't worry about having them around small kids. Those dogs were not Pyrenees pets."

Erik Taylor, a rangeland and management specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, said there is no specific language addressing the use of guard dogs in grazing permits issued to herders in the Routt National Forest.

"Generally speaking, each year I have conversations with permittees," said Taylor, who noted signs are posted throughout the national forest advising people of the presence of guard dogs.

"I remind them that more people use the national forest and they will have more encounters with people in the public," he said. "In the five years I have been here, there have been hardly any incidents at all with these encounters. It's unfortunate that this situation happened."

Taylor said he is investigating the attack and he has talked with the herder. He stressed there are inherent dangers when visiting national forests.

"Stay away from the sheep. Many of them do have dogs with them to protect the sheep against coyotes and bears and other predators," Taylor said. "So if people are recreating on the national forest, if you see sheep, there will be dogs, and they are protective of the sheep. It's not people they view as a threat. It's another animal. If it's a dog not close to a person, they don't associate that with people and are likely to attack."

Taylor said sheep herding is a way of life in Routt County and that grazing in the national forest dates back more than 100 years.

"These sheep and guard dogs have sort of been occupying parts of the forest for decades," he said. "Obviously the herders can't be with sheep 24 hours a day. When herders are not with the sheep, it's the role of the dog to alert the herder to threats to the sheep. Then they respond to that threat."

Taylor said dogs must be leashed in national forest campgrounds and picnic areas. However, dogs can be off leash in other areas of the national forest as long as they are under voice command.

Shoaf described the incident as "being at the wrong place at the wrong time," but he hopes the loss of Pepper will teach others about what precautions to take when hiking in Routt and Grand counties.

"My position is that if I had seen the herd, I would not have gone around the lake," he said. "If I had seen a sign, I would have gone elsewhere."

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

dave reynolds 7 years ago

Not to be cold but there is a leash law..this is way..just like the lady whos dog got stomped at Sheraton Golf course..but heck I'm special laws don't apply to me

0

stmbtprof 7 years ago

there are I repeat NO BAD DOGS-ONLY BAD DOG OWNERS!!!

0

OnTheBusGus 7 years ago

Did you read this? "Taylor said dogs must be leashed in national forest campgrounds and picnic areas. However, dogs can be off leash in other areas of the national forest as long as they are under voice command."

0

dave reynolds 7 years ago

OPPS...you're right I stand corrected..but still think a leash is the best for the dog

0

steamvent 7 years ago

Taylor may want to spend a little more time in the field ... dogs protecting sheep may very well perceive a human as a threat under the right circumstances, and if they do, they could attack. When you see sheep protected by dogs, it is best to not approach them. This could have been a child instead of someone's pet, so be careful.

0

id04sp 7 years ago

Sounds to me like the Great Pyrenees should have been on leashes, in the daytime, near a known recreational area.

GPs were bred to protect sheep from canine predators. I know of a case in Tennessee where one GP killed several coyotes in a single night.

A reliable source told me a few years ago that the price which could be obtained from wool was less than it cost to pay someone to shear the sheep. It's unlawful in many BLM controlled lands to pick certain endangered wildflowers, but yet, they allow a herd of sheep to come through and graze everything right down to the dirt. And, in dry areas, the sheep dung will persist in a readily identifiable form for years.

Keeping your lab on a leash in the national forest is like leaving your tropical fish in the plastic bags when you put them in the aquarium; why bother to put the animal in that position in the first place? Dogs love to run, and will, and most sporting breeds pose absolutely no danger to human beings at all. Sporting breeds (retrievers, pointers, spaniels, etc.) were all bred to have a close affinity for the human family because they HAD to live closely with the family in order to retrieve game and give it up for human consumption.

Guard dogs of any sort are a danger to innocent people and animals when they are not under physical control. The BLM should be on the hook for allowing the GPs to be off-leash during the daytime in an area where people and pet dogs can be found.

Good luck on suing the shepherd for your vet bill.

0

dogd 7 years ago

If the wooly maggots are to be allowed to trash the meadows and woods, they should at the very least be kept away from areas of concentrated human traffic. The BLM should take charge of the situation. The mountain maggots should not have been within a half mile of the campgrounds . If no such policy exists-one needs to be adopted.

0

fish 7 years ago

Well answer me this, if you just have to have your dog under voice command how come his dog did not come back to him when he tried to call it back when he saw it headed toward the sheep. I have heard many times of townies taking fido out to "play" and run livestock that are grazing on national forest land. It sure sounded like the dog owner did not feel the need to call his dog away from the sheep until he saw that they were being protected. To say that this could have been a child is nuts, I know of some pretty active children, but havent heard of many of them running into herds of sheep or cattle lately. Also many people around here protect their sheep by using llamas and a llama could have and would have inflicted similar damage. I guess that maybe we should not let llamas be off leash during the day time when Mr. Let my dog run livestock decides to go out and play.

0

housepoor 7 years ago

I'm curious what the Forest Service charges the rancher to be allowed to run his sheep anywhere he pleases on National Forest Land? My guess it's next to nothing .............it's just welfare in sheep's clothing.

0

jlkar 7 years ago

Problem with this is that if your dog is under voice command, is the owner just supposed to take a wild guess whether or not a sheep herd could be around the corner? Can these sometimes foriegn Basque (not being rude- stating a fact in most of Routt Co) herders call their dogs by voice command off our dogs? I agree with ID04sp... do we need to build a 34 million dollar rec center for our dogs now that we can't recreate in the miles of free natural bounty? Rob is taking this well... can't say I would do the same. And paddlefisher- let me know when you come up with a system of exactly when being leashed is best for your dog. That is akin to saying people shouldn't get on a river because they might drown... dogs and people need to live their lives...

0

Shannonj 7 years ago

I was there on Sunday hiking with my dog and was amazed how close those sheep and dogs were knew the hiking trail. I saw the sheep ahead of time and put my dog on leash right away. Even then those guard dogs came down close to the trail with their fur up and ready to attack.

I can see how easy it is for those dogs to attack another dog off-leash.

I can't imagine losing my dog like that and I hope something is changed to make it safer up there so you can hike with your dogs without worrying about attacks like that.

0

thecondoguy1 7 years ago

I am sick about this guy losing his dog, I am sitting here reading and crying............

0

weststmbtres 7 years ago

The story says dogs are allowed off leashes as long as they are under voice command. If a dog can't be contolled by voice commands then it needs to be on a leash at all times. That's always been my understanding of the forest service leash rules.

That begs the next question. How are the GP's allowed to be left alone off leash an not under voice control? What is the loophole in the law that allows an exception for them?

If a pet owner had a dog that attacked and killed a coyote or other native forest wildlife, the pet owner would probably be liable to the forest service for their pet harassing and killing wildlife. The GP's, a non native species, protecting yet another non native species, the sheep are allowed free autonomous roam without supervision and without recourse.

0

jlkar 7 years ago

One more thing: TYPICALLY bears and coyotes hunt during dusk and evening. How about herders have guard dogs from dusk to dawn and herd their packs under human control during the day- and not use dogs unless they are under voice command during the daylight. That would reduce the time that recreaters have to worry about random attacks and most likely, unless the guard dogs were hunting our pet dogs or searching for food... they shouldn't be around campsites during the evening.

0

colobob 7 years ago

Dog owners are responsible for their dogs actions. As an owner and trainer of pointing dogs I can see both sides of this issue. The issue here seems to be one of control and unfortunately there was none from either dog owner. One from not having voice command and obedience (both of wich come from proper training), and the other for leaving his animals unattended. People need to be in complete control of their animals at all times. We all need to realize that dogs are essentially domesticated wild animals and will follow their instincts unless prevented from doing otherwise. Obedience training would have prevented this incident from occuring, so would the shepard had he been there and been in control of his animals. As far as the argument that herders can't be with their herd 24hrs a day I say bull! If they can't be there themselves they should have someone else there for them. If it had been a person that made these dogs feel threatened, and depending on that persons actions that is entirely possible, the outcome could have been worse. National Forests are for everyone and WE ALL have a responsibilty to be in control of our actions or in this case the actions of our animals. The Forest Service should share some of the blame here as well. They should require ALL dog owners to be in control of their animals. It's a shame that this had to happen and I feel bad for the loss of a pet and best friend. The blame can be divided three ways on this one. Lets hope all became a little better educated as a result of this incident although I have my doubts about the Forest Service. That may be unfair, but that can be determined by what they do to prevent something like this from happening in the future.

0

panky 7 years ago

Learn the facts about herding and grazing animals.

Nobody owes you any protection from working dogs (they are NOT pets required to be on a leash). Those dogs have a job to do and if your dog had been "worrying" those sheep a shepard or the owner of the flock would have every legal right to use a bullet to stop your dog. No questions asked.

Knowing that, you chose to invade that grazing area.

Chasing open range animals is putting your dog at a huge risk to be shot.

You owe it to your pet to have it either on a leash or voice trained if you find yourself there and then get the heck away from that situation.

0

dundalk 7 years ago

My heart goes out to not only Pepper but Pepper's owner.

Dogs doing their job, such as the GP, are following their instinct and in this case no creature is a winner. How sad.

0

ElBorracho 7 years ago

Amen, panky. I'm a dog owner, too, but I'm a little surprised by the sense of entitlement in these comments. The herders have just as much right to be there as you and your dog, but I'm not sure where the idea that your dog has a right and expectation to be able to run around off his leash comes from because he's a lab and you want him to be able to do that. Anyone who lives in this area KNOWS how dangerous the sheepherders dogs can be. If you see sheep, take your dog somewhere else to protect it. Look at the last quote in this story -- even the owner of the dog who died understood that. Giving your dog his off-leash freedom is a nice thing to do as an owner; making sure he's by your side so he doesn't get ripped limb from limb (or hit by a truck, or shot for harassing sheep/cows, or lost in the woods, or ... ) is the responsible thing to do.

0

colobob 7 years ago

To Panky: I understand fully the facts about herding and grazing animals and that they are not required to be on a leash. I understand that any dog chasing stock, deer, or any other animal whether wild or domestic unless in the act of legally hunting game with a dog is a recipe for disaster. I also understand that National Forests are for everyones use and that if uses are going to overlap it is the Forest Services responsibility to see that whatever regulations are in place are inforced ( no small task). As far as the statement that nobody owes you protection from working dogs, that statement is one that is completely irresponsible. All dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs and although the actions of the herding dogs were of a reasonable response, the animals were not under supervision or control. Again, I suggest to you all that all parties share some blame here.

0

stmbtprof 7 years ago

as an animal lover i feel terrible about his guy's dog but at the same time in backpacking and running into this situation with my dogs hiking with me..I had on voice command and then on leashes when i saw heard of shepp as i knnew there would be guard dog around...i have hiked with my dogs thru the national forest and thru these trails many time without problem..but I always kep my dogs on leashes when approaching sheep or another dog..just common sense...

0

id04sp 7 years ago

I have not seen sheep in that particular area, but I have seen the herders near Hahn's Peak Lake and around the general area north of Clark.

The only time I've been out with my own dog was in the California desert, and it was almost impossible to know there was a herd of sheep nearby until it was too late. Luckily, my dog came back when called and did not harm anybody. I didn't see any GPs at the time, and consider myself lucky on that point.

By the way, I've been around some Great Pyrenees pets and they are wonderful, big, lovable dogs.

The sheep add nothing to the forest, or to the local economy, and provide no benefit to anyone except the shepherd. If they are going to keep dogs which are trained to kill canines on sight, the shepherds have to accept the same liability as any other person who takes a dog into the forest. It's no different than shooting a dog that has done no harm to the sheep.

18-9-204.5. Unlawful ownership of dangerous dog.

It's too long to paste here, but look it up.

There's a loophole for guard dogs "under the control" of an owner and "engaged" in the duties of a guard dog. Whether a frolicking lab that would not have harmed the sheep could be considered to have "engaged" the guard dogs is a matter which, as they say, "should be referred to counsel."

0

panky 7 years ago

When you said, "I understand that any dog chasing stock, deer, or any other animal whether wild or domestic unless in the act of legally hunting game with a dog is a recipe for disaster," you almost got it.

But your pet doesn't have to do anything other than "worry" livestock. That word is deliberately vague so that the degree of distress is not at issue. The law is on the side of the livestock and the people that own them.

The herds need protection from threats. Your dog is another animal and is considered a threat. No matter how "sweet" it is to you.

YOU are the brains behind your dog to protect it from dangerous situations and a herd of animals is definitely one to avoid.

You make it sound as though these herds and their guards are always on Forest Service land. The law is the same for private property, BLM or Forest Service land. As I understand it, the Forest Service collects fees for grazing but they do not, never have and never will provide protection for the herd.

Protect your dog! Turn around and head away from a very dangerous situation.

0

Brent Boyer 7 years ago

All: Posted below is a link to a story we published last month about sheep grazing on the national forest. I think it will provide some additional background and information about this issue.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

Brent Boyer Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4221 bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

0

housepoor 7 years ago

The laws on the side of the livestock were written in the 1800's and need to be updated. I say let the Bear's eat sheep.....

0

Dukebets 7 years ago

id - Your comments are absurd! You state that sheep add nothing to the local economy. What economy are you involved with? Surely, not the multi-millions of dollars generated by the ranching folks of S. Routt. But, I'm sure your precious ankle biters add to the economy.

I am a dog owner and will state that the guard dogs were totally in the right here.

And Housepoor, bring on the bears. Herders and guard dogs win that battle nightly around here.

0

colobob 7 years ago

Seems to me that you are the one who ALMOST got it. Once again, s l o w l y. All dog owners are responsible for their dogs actions and all parties are at fault here. The fellow that allowed his dog to quote "worry" livestock is most certainly at fault and conversely so is the herder who leaves his dogs unsupervised or unattended. Working dogs like a car or a chainsaw are a tool and they require people to direct and decide how to use them. Do you start your chainsaw on a street where kids are playing and then go in the house to have dinner while leaving it running? Same concept different tool. And just for the record my "sweet" dogs are trained to respond to voice, whistle, and hand signals. In addition they are obedience, field, and guard dog trained (Koehler method) and I can stop them on a dead run with a whoa command either by voice or by whistle. Would my dog have been at risk? I think not. He would have been at heel at the very least and probably leashed as well. As far as my "sweet" dog goes they are the sweetest GSP's its ever been my privilege to hunt behind after close to 40 years as both amateur and professional trainer. Care to teach me some other words besides worry? How about dog training?

0

trinity 7 years ago

For clarification, sent from a close friend of the owner:

The sheep and GP's were NOT visible at all, and in fact were completely out of site behind a small hillside just on the west side of Dumont Lake--about 100 feet from the lake shore. When the GP's ran towards his dog, only then did the herd then move up the hill side and into site. Had the owner seen the herd/GP's ahead of time he would have put Pepper on a lease, just the same as he had done numerous times in the past when encountering sheep/GP's. It is an unfortunate outcome.

FYI.... If you have had been attacked by a GP recently (or your dog), please notify the forest service at: 970-879-1870.

Anonymous

0

housepoor 7 years ago

if these sheep rancher are generating 'multi millions' on public lands then they should pay a fair amount to lease those lands.........

0

jlkar 7 years ago

one guarantee: Ranchers and herders will learn from this lesson. Do you think they wanted this to happen? Mustknow- your comments barely deserve attention. When a dog is killed by wildlife, that is life. When a dog is killed by a pack of guard dogs in broad daylight at one of the most popular areas of Yampa's rec, it is cause for CONCERN. If you know him and his family you would know that they aren't happy that the lab is dead. So get off your ridiculous quest for guard dog rights and think about the future. If this were to become commonplace, you can bet it will be the ranchers who are affected. NOT the pet owner. public outcry will assure this. That is the new Steamboat. And great point about being scared of all dogs... then you have no room to comment on any issue regarding dogs because you don't understand them. Grow up and think before you speak.

0

Dukebets 7 years ago

Housepoor - Have you ever heard of grazing permits? BLM and Forest permits are required for the ranchers and they do come with a cost. In fact, BLM permits will often exceed $75,000 depending on the head of animal grazing. They also expire every 5 to 10 years.

0

Dukebets 7 years ago

jlkar - Take your advice on thinking before you speak. "Ranchers will be affected NOT the pet owners". You should be the spokesperson for PETA. I can't see ranchers' grazing rights being affected due to house pets getting killed on government property.

By the way, Michael Vick rocks and will be back in the NFL in 24 months.

0

phidgt 7 years ago

I was out doing the Causeway on Tuesday. There was a herd of 1000 sheep out there - on the trail. We didn't have any dogs with us, however, the gaurd dog followed at our heels growling and barking the entire time. The herder was nowhere to be found. I could actually feel the dog's breath on the back of my legs. My question would be if that dog did attack one of us, would we have the right to shoot it? What's the law there? How about keeping the sheep out of those high traffic areas? Having all of those sheep grazing directly on the trail to the Devil's Causeway seems like an incredible lack of judgement on the herders part.

0

oofcboy 7 years ago

they also said ranchers have been hearding sheep here for a hundred years so who should be mad the new town folk or the old ranchers who help build the town the why you guys like it{western}

0

colobob 7 years ago

No matter which side of this issue your are on I would just like to leave everyone with this one statement.

"There is no such thing as bad dogs..............., Just bad dog owners!"

0

popcan 7 years ago

I always thought that there is always someone accountable on public land and that there is no ignorance for safety. I know that a dog's owner is accountable when their dogs are running loose in the wild (sheep dogs or ?) and when they kill other people's livestock or someone elses pet. The rancher is accountable, what if those sheep dogs killed a calf instead of a dog ... is there a difference. The Lab didn't harm the sheep. I am surprised that the Forest Service says the pet owner should have known better. I feel for Mr. Shoaf and tramatizing experience to go through. He has every right to have his pet out in the forest too. Most dogs don't know what to do with sheep and are curious.

0

older_dude 7 years ago

Way too many bicyclists and hikers in Dumont Lake and Buffalo Park Road areas to make presence of guard dogs of any kind a safe proposition. Only a matter of time until one of these guard dogs chews on a little kid. Notion that a few randomly placed signs sufficiently alleviates this risk is absurd. C'mon Forest Service -- do your job and require sheepherders to stay a mile back from known recreational destinations!

0

id04sp 7 years ago

Dukebets,

I was talking about a flock of sheep grazing in a recreational area in the national forest. I did not mention any commercial activity on a ranch. Two completely different things.

Ranchers and farmers have a right to protect their stock from pet dogs, and owners should be liable for injuries to stock.

0

fanofsteamboatsprings 7 years ago

Let me toss out a couple of thoughts for some folks to chew on. We own land that is leased for sheep grazing. Dukebets was correct in that fees are charged on a per head basis for sheep and cattle grazing which the National Forest Service will generally pay about $5 per head per year. Even though these fees seem low it used to be free to the sheep herd owners.

The National Forest Service can include provisions that require these herds to stay away from any area they prescribe. So far they have not, principally because incidents such as these are rare, if not rarely reported.

The herders who are hired to tend the sheep are not expected to be with 100% of the herd 100% of the time. These guys need to take breaks, sleep, etc. and are often tending more than one herd at a time, hence the dogs to guard the sheep.

These dogs are supposed to be trained to go after any animal that is posing a threat to the sheep but never go after people under any circumstances. Yet our experience has shown that these dogs have run away from the herd towards our dogs when they were leashed. And these dogs have at times run away from the herd, barking and snarling at people without dogs. Based on what was posted by Trinity and Phidgt some of these dogs have done exactly the same thing.

My advise to all is: Be aware of everything that has been posted here and reported. The dogs are supposed to only go after an animal that is posing a direct threat to the herd, not people or pets that are leashed. If you have an encounter where the dogs go beyond this then report it to the National Forest Service (if that is where you are) or whoever is responsible for that land. If the complaints continue then perhaps the NFS will intervene and make efforts to ensure that the herders dogs stay within their scope of protection.

I do not buy the argument that because this is the way it has been for a hundred years then that's the way it is. A hundred years ago many of these trails never existed, the recreating public was less than 10% of what there is now, there were no dirt bikes, no snowmobiles, no mountain bikes or anything resembling a running shoe. These areas have become multi-use and multi-purpose. Ultimately the NFS will need to engage in a little tighter management should incidents such as this continue.

0

workerbee 7 years ago

I too have been hiking (without dogs) and run into a herd and some of these dogs. I was on my way back down the trail to the car out in the Flat Tops and was followed by the dogs snarling at me. I've never been so scared in my entire life. I was especially thankful that I didn't have my dog with me that day, even though I always keep her leashed I have a feeling that the dogs would have gone after her anyways.

0

pwdr 7 years ago

Hiking near Dumont Lake over three weeks ago I was chased off the trail by two GP's guarding their herd. I was alone and had no dog with me (so why did they bother me?). I was sure that they would attack me, and having nothing to protect myself with, I climbed a nearby tree. The Sheepdogs stayed below the tree circling and barking at me for at least 40 minutes. They finally left me alone when hikers came down the trail in the distance. How can we blame the owner of the lab when clearly these "working" dogs are out of control? By no means was I threatening the herd, and yet they rushed me, and frightned me enough so that I will no longer enter the National Forest without being armed. I say that any menacing or vicious animal should be leashed at all times, sheep hearding dogs included!

0

thalgard 7 years ago

Hey all, what are the laws if your dog is on the leash and it gets attacked by these dogs? Can I defend my pet with deadly force? Public lands grazing is basically welfare anyway, these range maggots overgraze everywhere they go, at taxpayers expense, but I sure do like wearing wool.

0

fanofsteamboatsprings 7 years ago

For all of you who have related your stories of these encounters with those herd guard dogs, I would encourage you to call the Forest Service and let them know about your incident. And do not hesitate to follow up asking what was done about your complaint. Both the Forest Service and the herd owners need to be held accountable.

0

connie_e 7 years ago

I would like a clarification of some of the facts. Was the dog running back to his owner when the guard dogs attacked? The article seems to imply this as "the dog disappeared over the hill" then "the attack happened within 50 feet of the owner". Also, It seems there have been a lot of sheep on both Rabbit Ears and Buff pass this summer. Are there more permits this year, or are they just using land closer to the traveled paths?

0

Jason Miller 7 years ago

When i hike i always carry a Desert Eagle 50 Cal.Like they say it better to have and not need it,then need it and not have it.This is the same reason i carry a first aid kit.I could be wrong but it is never concealed,so i hope dont need a permit.The reason i carry a fire arm is because i've been worry about bears and mountain lions and such.I dont know how i would react if this happened to me.

0

SPARKYINSTMBT 7 years ago

I FIND THIS WHOLE SITUATION DISGUSTING. As longtime Routt County resident, the sheep herders dogs have been a nuisance and are becoming a safety issue to the recreationalist regardless if they have a dog with them or not. I hike, ride bikes, and try to take advantage of our greater outdoors. I am also involved in the Real Estate Industry and have on multiple times been cornered by these dogs, chased in the car and at one time nearly attacked. There are no signs posted that "Caution possible aggressive Sheephearding Dogs in the area" I now travel with pepper spray, and a full first aid kit. I feel that the owners that have employed the sheepherders need to start bearing some responsibility to keep these dogs under control. Many of these dogs have been left to fend for themselves including food. Antoleans, are not social animals and neither are Great Pyranees that have been desocialized with human touch. With the great need to have the opportunity to graze the sheep on private lands to maintain the property in AG, and public lands to satisfy the need to additional grazing land, I believe the leasee needs to be accountable for these animals...........

0

bec 7 years ago

I know Rob and I knew Pepper and what happened is just heartbreaking and sickening. I was horrified and angry when Rob told me. I want to start people brainstorming ideas to try and ever avoid another such incident. What can we do as a community to make sure that clear and unmisable signage is seen by visitors to national forest areas where ranchers are keeping their animals. Is it possible to sign the National Forest Access Roads with a warning of GP in the area and a map of where the grazing permits are given for? Could there be an insert in a publication like the Steamboat Pilot at the start of each summer with maps showing where permits have been issued for GP to be guarding flock? Maybe these ideas are not practical, but there must be some better way of warning people than the small inadequate signage that is currently in place. As has been mentioned by other bloggers, it appears that leashed pets and people without pets have been approached by GP, so clearly the statement "just leash your dog" is not the answer.

0

oofcboy 7 years ago

how do we know all you guys are telling the truth or just hopping on the anti-rancher band wagon

0

oofcboy 7 years ago

the sheep help keep down wild fires buy eating fire breaks, so carry walking staff with you or something a little more powerfull you never know when you may walk up a bear or cat,wild whistle pigs and some cases timber rattlers

0

OnTheBusGus 7 years ago

Something a little more powerful like a Desert Eagle 50 Cal perhaps?

0

livestockisyourfoodduh 7 years ago

Do you realize where your food and clothing resources come from apparently not. It is a hard life being a rancher or farmer and the prices are not the greatest. You have to love the life to do the job it is a 24/7 job and lots of stress no guaranteed paycheck, no welfare check, just lots of hard work and it takes a whole family to do the job come rain, snow, heat, hail, tornado ect. You go to the store and it is there but have you ever thought of where it comes from. The ranchers have to have these dogs to protect their assets and there family livelyhood. These dogs can be caught by the owners and are not a threat to people stay your distance and leave the rancher alone we have no other place to run our livestock as all you rich jerks have come in and built on the land that we could use to make a living and pretty soon you will have all the land taken up and then what and where will you raise the meat and vegetables that are on your plate at night. It takes all kinds for the world to work so back off and let the rancher do what he has to. You go to a job in the morning and leave at night and dont worry about bears, lions, coyotes or a pack of dogs getting in and you loosing everything you have worked hard for and it is all over in less than 10 minutes but it has happened and will continue to happen so all we are doing is protecting ourselves and if it takes having guard dogs to protect we will I would like to see you go and protect your job 24/7 and let a dog owner come and ruin your day. I hope we never run out of the rancher or the farmer because you will starve and i will not and then it will end.

0

connie_e 7 years ago

Live stock may be our food, but that dog was not in the process of attacking sheep, nor was he running the sheep. I believe he was running back to his owner when he was attacked. And with the exception of Emerald Mountain, I have never seen a sign advising of sheep/guard dogs in any area around Routt County or in the Flat tops. For all of us who have well behaved dogs that walk off leash, at a minimum, a warning would be nice.

0

JazzSlave 7 years ago

stmbtprof:

Which are the "bad" owners in this case?

It would be useful to know what a pet owner's rights are with regard to property defense on public lands. I would have the right to defend my dog from a human attacker; and have, in the past, defended my dog from an aggressive counterpart.

0

livestockisyourfoodduh 7 years ago

you are wrong there are signs posted throughout Routt County warning people of the guard dogs As you know there has been a terrible problem with bears this summer even in town the dogs are working constantly to keep predators away from there sheep and so any sign of trouble and they are going to respond. This does not mean the owners are bad What you all dont realize is what harm a pack of dogs can do even pets that are trained can still enjoy chasing the sheep and then maybe accidently kill one and get the taste of blood and then it is all over Maybe we should go back when poisoning the predators was legal You all put that to a stop so the rancher had to find a new way to protect and now you want to take that away The sheep do not go onto any permits until after the 10th of July in most places and are usually gone by the middle of October 2 1/2 months of the year and you all can use it the other 9 1/2 months and do whatever your hearts content you can also use it during the time the sheep are there but have some respect for the sheep and cattle wherever you may be What do you want the dogs to do carry a sign that says PLEASE KEEP YOUR PET DOGS AWAY WE ARE HERE PROTECTING OUR SHEEP AND MAY CHASE YOUR DOG AWAY FROM THE SHEEP AND MAY EVEN HAVE TO DISPOSE OF THEM. Or would you rather the herder just stand guard and shoot your dog that is running free and scaring the sheep because it is fair game to shoot any dog that is menacing livestock in Colorado. The ranchers are the people who have built the land that you destroy and build houses and shopping malls on so why take away the forest. The livestock keep the land in good shape so these permits need to stay open. If the grass was not pastured how much more fuel a fire would have and if a fire does start on the mountain it wont take long for it to make its way to town. This can happen because of a careless human throwing out a cigarette or leaving a camp fire so do we ban people from the forest too. Bears are out there looking for food maybe you all should be happy that those dogs are around when you are sleeping trying to keep the bears away and any other predators that could make its way into a camp site. So if a bear kills your dog are you going to tell the forest service they need to put the bears, lions, coyotes or even the wolves that are now in our forests on a leash during the day to keep them from killing a dog, a person, or livestock that may be in the area. Lets get real you are making these dogs sound like they are worse than the bears in your garbage killing your cats and dogs and eventually a child what a crime that would be. If you do not like the dogs follow the rules and you dont have to go where there are permits and people trying to make a living and providing our communities with food and clothing. Its like you protecting your children you are going to do whatever it takes to keep them safe gds keep predators away (pet dogs included)

0

JazzSlave 7 years ago

livestockisyourfoodduh -

PUNCTUATION: punctua*tion; puhngk-choo-ey-shuhn

  1. the practice or system of using certain conventional marks or characters in writing or printing in order to separate elements and make the meaning clear, as in ending a sentence or separating clauses.
  2. the act of punctuating.
  3. punctuation marks.

G.E.D. - General Educational Development, or GED® Tests, is a battery of five tests that, when passed, certifies the taker has American or Canadian high school-level academic skills. To pass the GED Tests and earn a GED credential, test takers must score higher than 40 percent of graduating high school seniors nationwide. Some jurisdictions require that students pass additional tests, such as an English proficiency exam or civics test.

0

colobob 7 years ago

livestockisyourfoodduh, At least if a shepard were to shoot a dog caught in the act of chasing stock there would be an element of control involved. ALL dog owners are responsible for their dogs actions!

0

Hadleyburg_Press 7 years ago

Livestocker, Thanks for protecting us from the natural environment.

0

Oscar 7 years ago

I think this dialog has mostly skirted the most important issue in preventing these type situations. Most of the recreating public use a very small amount of National Forest land. Sheep should not be allowed any where near a place as popular and as busy as the Dumont Lake area, one of the most heavily visited parts of Routt NF. Allowing them do be that close to this popular recreation area is unforgiveable on the part of the Forsest Service, the rancher who owns the sheep and the herder.

I (and my dog) have also been chased off from the top of Spring Creek trail by aggressive GP's very close to Dry Lake Campground, where sheep are allowed to destroy the beautiful wildlfowers and vegitation every year in early July. It's disgusting. Why can't the Forest Service keep the herds of sheep away for these few very popular and heavily visited areas. Something needs to change. I can tell you one thing that will change. From now on, I will be armed when I hike on NF trails and I will not hesitate to defend myself and my dog from aggressive guard dogs.

0

id04sp 7 years ago

I don't eat mutton or lamb.

I don't wear wool. I avoid wool whenever possible. The only use I've ever found for it was in wool liners for leather flying gloves, because the wool still insulates even when it's wet.

I'd rather have cold hands, or wear another type of glove, than be attacked by a Great Pyrenees in the Routt National Forest.

Isn't it funny that skiing out of bounds carries a higher penalty than letting your dog kill somebody else's dog in the NF?

I do support the rancher's right to defend his stock. Livestockisyouretc is right on all counts regarding pet dogs chasing domesticated animals. I've had to put up more than 1600 feet of "rabbit wire" (2"x4" mesh) field fence to keep out dogs and protect my family and animals from other people's pets. (Hope it keeps out the GPs, too, after this story).

I think the simple fact is that the RNF near populated areas is too much a recreational area to allow dangerous dogs to be left guarding sheep. If ranchers can't make a profit without grazing unguarded sheep on public land, they should stay off the public land. There are NO feral dogs in the RNF, and if losing a sheep to a bear or a cat is the difference between making it or breaking it, sheep are not a viable cash crop in Routt County. Graze them somewhere else. Truck-em to Dinosaur and compete with the antelope. If sheep can graze in the Mojave Desert (and I've seen that with my own eyes), then they don't need a boreal forest to support them.

Dogs going after people is an unacceptable situation, no matter where it occurs. I'll be carrying my "9" and 16 Hydrashocks when I go out there for a walk from now on.

Just one more little thing. I was at Hahn's Peak Lake in July, and saw one of the shepherd's wagons parked near the campground. There were signs around that said "camp in designated areas only," and you had to pay a fee. Does the grazing permit allow shepherds to ignore such restrictions?

0

80488mom 7 years ago

I have hiked the flat tops in the summer with my dogs and walked through the middle of a large herd. I saw the guard dogs watching the flock but at no time did they bother us or show aggressive behavior. They did bark to signal us they were there. We weren't hiking next to the herd we were walking right through it.

I have a Great Pry and she is the sweetest most affectionate dog I own. The Great Pry is also known as the Gentle Giant and mine lives up to the name. She socializes with our family and other dogs in the mornings and evenings but during the day and night she is with our livestock.

I felt sorry for this owner and his dog but also am compelled to believe that the dogs felt their herd was threatened for some reason. It's hard for me to believe these dogs attacked for no reason at all. The Great Pyr is not a wild, vicious dog when unprovoked. I'm sure there are exceptions but those same exceptions apply to every breed. I'm saddened to see the Great Pry getting a bad reputation in the valley over this one incident.

0

colobob 7 years ago

80488mom

the Great Pyr isn't at fault here and I don't think any person of reasonable intel. would blame this on a particular breed. This is a matter of control or in this case more a lack of it. As a dog owner yourself I'm sure you would agree that it is our responsibility to maintain control over our animals. In this case the animals were left unsupervised and left to follow their natural instincts as well as their obvious training to be aggressive to protect the herd. I understand the need for these animals to be aggressive - that's their job, but the lack of control is what is inexcuseable here. The herder needs to be in control of his animals at all times, just like the rest of us need to be in control of our animals. The Great Pyr is a fine breed and most people realize that. The herder is at fault not the dogs.

0

jlkar 7 years ago

I agree with Oscar. Herds should be kept at least a half mile away from ALL trails. Since sheep are the dumbest animals around RCNF they will need a full mile to be herded back to their designated areas. And BY THE WAY when and where do you people buy local lamb meat. Because I only know of local ground beef sold at the South Routt Nursury. So, like iDO4sp, do not rely on the lamb around routt county. Neither does smartwool. Keeping these herds away from our trails would allow everyone to see the wildflowers, enjoy their day and still their would be plenty of room for those dumb as hell animals eat and deficate all over the streambeds and erode our forest. Also, to livestockisyour... FOREST FIRES ARE GOOD. and unless these sheep are going to start eating beetle kill wood, this valley will be on fire in your lifetime. so deal with it, enjoy your lambchops.

0

colobob 7 years ago

to all:

please refer to my earlier posts regarding this issue. There are three parties at fault here. The above comment is not made with the intent of placing all of the blame on the herder. It is important to note that a number of people dropped the ball here. 1.) the owner of the dog that was mauled (and I do feel sorry for him) for not having more control over his best friend. 2.) the herder for not having any apparent control over his animals. 3.) the Forest Service for not enforcing or placing rules & regs. that could have prevented this from occuring in the first place. to be fair their job in overseeing such a vast amount of land is no small one. Most certainly they are understaffed for the job they are expected to perform.

This is not a perfect world and there will always be things that happen that are beyond our control. In this instance there appears to be little control from anyone of the three parties. Lets all hope that we can learn from this and aim towards making sure that nothing like this ever happens again.

0

jlkar 7 years ago

so nasty mustno! fires clean and regenerate and when started naturally usually serve that purpose. Forests today are supporting 10 times the normal density because they have not been allowed to burn. But if you would like to think of sheep as the "natural" firefighters, continue your insolence and your outstanding ability to name call- which makes your argument so strong. Lack of fire is a greater threat to long-term ranching livelihood - do some reseach if you don't believe me. And if you would take some of the things posted with an intellectual standpoint maybe you would think about how irresponsible campers setting fires in banned areas aren't who I am speaking of. But you obvilously have nothing to do with your day than pick out arguable sentences and attack the writer- regardless of it being a moot point since the sheep really aren't there to protect us from forest fires. But that is from my planet, born and raised in steamboat, with my head up my ass.

0

animalfarm 7 years ago

jlkar, If I were you, I would just ignore musknosumpin, because obviously...musknosumpin doesn't know much of anything! I don't post alot, just read them...and muskno doesn't seem to be blessed with much in the way of brains, anyone who has any interest in the forest, would understand the value of forest fires.

0

id04sp 7 years ago

What it's about is that a small group of people who benefit from grazing sheep on public land take priority over the safety of the general public which uses the same land for recreational purposes.

Would you let the sheep graze on Mt. Werner? Why not put them over there to keep the brush down on the ski runs during the summer?

0

blkgloloc 7 years ago

Have you ever heard of multi-use/multi-purpose, hikers/bikers/skiers are not the only ones using our PUBLIC lands. We have ranchers that depend on the sheep for their livelihood, timber folks that rely on it for their livelihood and outfitters as well. The land creates a tremendous amount of revenue for the state from hunting too.

The sheep have a purpose, they reinvigorate the growth of the forbs, eat noxious weeds, provide you with sweaters and food. Why shouldn't the ranchers protect their livelihoods.

What do you suggest the rancher do that has lost 100 head of sheep already this year to bear?? Any suggestions??? I do know the rancher that has lost 100 already.

I have SEEN the posters warning people of guard dogs on the boards around the national forest. Do you not stop to look at those ever??

Also if that guy was so close to herd of sheep, which are typically in a band of 1000, how in the HELL did he not hear them bleating??? Doesn't make sense that you can't hear 1000 sheep!!!

0

id04sp 7 years ago

I was that close to a flock of sheep and the only thing I noticed was dust in the air and fresh doo doo and a lack of wildflowers where they had been. No bleating was herd (sic). Had it not been for my astute sense of my surroundings and my ability recognize sheep doo doo on sight, I too could have stumbled into them with my golden retriever.

The first time you encounter something is, after all, first time.

If your friend has lost 100 sheep already, that tells me that keeping sheep is not the way to go. Also, he lost 10% of his sheep. The dog owner lost 100% of his dogs.

Does it take Werner Von Braun to understand that keeping 1000 sheep where there are bears nearby is a damn good way to attract bears? Maybe this is why there are so many in town; they're coming to be near the sheep. Isn't this getting pretty close to what they call "bear baiting?"

In 1992, Colorado voters banned bear baiting (along with spring hunting and hound hunting) through a statewide initiative; they soundly rejected the argument that you need to bait and shoot bears to control the population.

Sounds like maybe we have a sheep problem that's creating a bear problem that is creating a dog problem. The first time a person dies on BLM land from a GP attack, the money from those 1000 (or is it 900 now?) sheep won't even begin to pay the legal fees in the negligence lawsuit against the people profiting from keeping sheep.

Let's hear your argument on that point.

0

wallygirl 7 years ago

Poor dog and owner.. You can't stop a dogs natural instinct - to see whats going on and sniff new things, and for another dog to protect. I think its just a very sad unfortunate event

0

Hadleyburg_Press 7 years ago

"I think its just a very sad unfortunate event",

and most importantly, preventable...

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.