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Person County Officials Believe Dogs Are Responsible for Dead Goats

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PERSON COUNTY — Losing a pet is never easy. A Person County couple is dealing with the loss of 35 pet goats that were killed by a group of dogs that are allowed to run free.

Animal control says it can only do so much, so the couple can take any means necessary to protect their pets.

Gone are the days when people who live in the country can let their dogs roam free. There are laws against it.

But in Person County, some people are not abiding by this law. Animal Control officers believe pet dogs roaming in a pack are responsible for attacking and killing 35 goats in less than a month.

One 2-week-old baby goat must be bottle fed, because her mother was killed by dogs Thursday. So were 12 other goats. Another vicious attack there last month killed 22 goats. Now there are only seven left.

"We have declared war on dogs which hit this property," said Bob Dickerson.

Dickerson, who has raised goats as pets for 20 years, says his family is devastated.

"We don't raise them to sell. We raise them to have them. It's an expense we put out because we love them," explained Dickerson.

Last month, Diana Burch, Dickerson's daughter, saw the dogs trying to attack.

"It makes you mad. There's something out there that's hurting animals that are defenseless," said Burch.

"We've had several cases where one or two goats have been killed, but never this many," said Ron Shaw, Person County Animal Control director.

Shaw says the county has an ordinance requiring dog owners to keep their pets on their property.

"We're getting more people, more houses, more animals. If people aren't going to be responsible for their animals, the problem is going to get worse and worse and worse," said Shaw.

"All I can say is that we don't let our dogs run loose, and they should not be running loose in the county," said Dickerson.

Shaw says that the dogs which attacked the Dickersons' goats did have on collars, but they had no identification tags or tags to prove they had rabies shots.

Under state law, if you see a dog on your property threatening your livestock, it is legal to shoot the animal.

The Dickersons have already killed one dog and say they will do whatever they have to do to protect the rest of their goats.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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