Two dogs responsible for the deaths of more than 60 animals in the New Market area were killed last week, according to Frederick County Animal Control.
The agency had been trying to capture the two Labrador-mastiff mixes after several reports of two large red dogs attacking livestock began on March 27 in the area Old Annapolis Road and Green Valley Road.
More than 30 chickens, 12 rabbits, 10 goats, five peacocks and three or four sheep were killed by the dogs, said Harold Dormer, director of animal control.
One of the dogs, a female, was found early April 14, caught in a humane trap set up by the agency in the 5800 block of Detrick Road, an animal control news release said.
At about 9:30 a.m. the same day, the male dog returned to the property and was shot and killed by the property owner after he found the dog attacking a lamb, the release said. The lamb was uninjured.
Under state law, residents are permitted to kill a dog that is attacking other animals on their property.
“[The victims] all are relieved that the dogs were captured one way or another,” Dormer said.
The dogs weighed between 55 and 75 pounds, animal control said.
Robert Laughlin, 67, said that every day he still looks out of the windows of his home on his farm near New Market, expecting to see his five goats.
Laughlin went outside on March 28 to feed his goats, Baba, Boots, Mocha, Nugget and Patches, only to find that they had been killed.
“Normally, they come running when I come to feed them, and I was kind of surprised they didn’t do that,” he said.
Laughlin said he found the bodies of two of the goats lying side by side, the others were scattered across the pen. It was later determined that the two dogs attacked the animals.
“It’s a shock to the system,” he said of the animals’ deaths. ”[The goats] were definitely in that gray area between farm animals and pets.”
The dogs’ owner, who was found by animal control on April 17, voluntarily relinquished custody of the female dog, which was euthanized Friday.
“We always want to make sure that the animals that we adopt out [here] aren’t aggressive...,” Dormer said. “The risk of this dog possibly injuring other animal or livestock was too high.”
Both dogs had been living with the man, whose identity was not released, in the 4300 block of Price’s Distillery Road in Ijamsville, before they escaped the home in mid-March, the release said.
If the owner had decided to keep the female dog, she would have been deemed “potentially dangerous,” Dormer said.
Under county law, a potentially dangerous dog is defined as one that has been running-at-large, has caused less than serious injury to a person without provocation or has injured or killed a domestic animal.
Some of the restrictions for owners of “potentially dangerous” dogs include not allowing the animals to go outside unintended, maintaining a proper enclosure and registering them annually with the county.
The owner will not face any criminal charges in the incidents, Dormer said.
“[But] civilly, the livestock owners can still go after him,” he said.
Laughlin said he doesn’t plan to sue the owner to replace his goats, which cost about $75 each, but he does plan to install additional security measures on his farm, such as more surveillance cameras and motion-activated lights.
“No I wouldn’t [sue],” he said. “I would kind of appreciate an apology [though].”