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Dogs maul iconic sheep in Dunn

Posted December 30, 2009

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— Three sheep that roamed a field behind a Dunn inn were killed by stray dogs over the weekend, police said.

Businessman Irvin Warren put four sheep in a fenced field in 2005, when he bought the historic Barrington House mansion and converted it to a bed and breakfast.

Caramel, sheep at Barrington House One sheep survived dog attack

The sheep initially sparked controversy because they violated a local ordinance that prohibits livestock within the city limits. Although the case remains tied up in the courts, the sheep have become four-legged celebrities in Dunn, with residents and tourists viewing them as local mascots.

"Strangers driving by will stop their cars and get out and look at them," said John Belote, a cook at Barrington House. "They've been here four years now, and nothing like this has ever happened."

On Saturday morning, police said, three pit bulls went into the pasture, which is surrounded by a split-rail fence and an electric wire, and attacked the four sheep. One was slaughtered in the field.

"The other sheep were running for their lives. The dogs were basically running at their legs and throats," Belote said.

Two sheep made it two blocks before the dogs overtook them. The third sheep escaped without injury.

Police said the dogs had no collars, and there was no identification of their owners.

"In the wintertime, we always have an influx of stray dogs coming into town," Dunn Police Chief B.P. Jones said.

Two of the dogs were captured, and a trap has been set for the third, police said. They said the dogs will be put down because they're considered vicious animals.

Warren, who was in Florida Wednesday, said people are pleading with him to replace the sheep. He owns other sheep at Shady Brook Stables nearby, but he said he doesn't want to move any until he's certain that the danger has passed.

The remaining sheep at Barrington House, named Caramel, is being kept in a stall for the time being for its safety.

"There's still one dog on the loose," Belote said.

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  • SalemWWX Jan 1, 2010

    "I love dogs...that being said dI know my neighbors, and I know their dogs...unidentified canines on my property get shot...SalemWWX

    just a sad excuse"

    Believe what you want....it matters not to me....Aggressive, unknown animals are a danger to myself, my family, my animals, my property and my neighbors....they get shot.....

  • lkanzig Jan 1, 2010

    As for the breed, it's much easier for the article to say pit mix than for the writers to actually figure out what type of dog it is. Writers arein the business to get your attention and to write articles, not to identify dog breeds.-kickchick2000

    i agree! just getting our attention regardless of the facts!

  • lkanzig Jan 1, 2010

    I love dogs...that being said dI know my neighbors, and I know their dogs...unidentified canines on my property get shot...SalemWWX

    just a sad excuse.

  • a1dogcop Dec 31, 2009

    Just some facts...of the 2 dogs that were captured one was a Pit and one was a larger Pit/Chow cross. These dogs were not underfed or starving..the damage done to the sheep was for sport. They did not eat them, they mutilated them.
    If you are truly interested in stats ref. Pits/Rotts etc. take the time to see the website "dog bite law"...read the section Canine Homicides. Note the number of fatalities due to dog attacks that involve family members and even dogs living in the house.
    I am not against Pit Bulls...I have been involved in pit rescue for years. I am against irresponsible dog owners.

  • SalemWWX Dec 31, 2009

    I love dogs...that being said dI know my neighbors, and I know their dogs...unidentified canines on my property get shot...

  • kickchick2000 Dec 31, 2009

    Wild dogs revert to pack mentality for survival, think wolves or coyotes. The dogs were starving the sheep were food, welcome to the food chain. Sucks but it's nature.

    I hope the owner of the Inn does replace the sheep, sounds like they were a really nice addition and something the local people really enjoyed. I would suggest he invest in a herd watcher as another poster suggested.

    As for the breed, it's much easier for the article to say pit mix than for the writers to actually figure out what type of dog it is. Writers arein the business to get your attention and to write articles, not to identify dog breeds.

  • stevietaylor319 Dec 31, 2009

    It's actually not about breeds or packs of dogs. Many dogs that are not an aggressive breed or are traveling alone instead of in a pack will attack livestock. Dogs are simply predators and will chase prey, even if they aren't hungry. This is why farmers have traditionally had the right to protect their livestock against loose dogs, even those with collars and tags. It is nice if a livestock owner can afford to provide a livestock guardian animal for their herd but it is even nicer if people obey the leash law for dogs.

  • lkanzig Dec 31, 2009

    PITTS ARE NOT LARGE DOGS!!

  • Commenter Dec 31, 2009

    Neighbor has a dog. Not a pit but some kind of mutt picked up at a shelter or a stray. But it's a large dog and has that pit mouth if you know what I mean. I've been around that dog for years.

    One day the neighbor had the dog out on a leash and I approached. Out of the blue, for some reason, the dog decided he didn't like me and/or that I was some kind of threat to the owner. Teeth bared, ears back, the dog lunged. If the neighbor hadn't had the leash, there's no doubt the dog would have done some serious damage. Now I have to avoid the owner when she's out with the dog.

    Could a terrier have reacted the same way? Perhaps. But the terrier would not have had the physical capability to tear me to shreds. The problem with the large pit-like breeds is that if they decide to hurt you, they can hurt you badly. And that is specific to the size and characteristics to the dog.

  • Scubagirl Dec 31, 2009

    "They shouldn't necessarily put these dogs down. They should try to rehabilitate them"

    regardless of what breed they are, now that they do have a taste for blood, they WILL do it again given the chance. Put them down humanely and move on.

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