I considered writing the first part of this last week, just because it was so bizarre it seemed good to write it down. Date it. Seemed like it was going somewhere eventually. I’d have never said it would go this way though.
Friday morning the kids were outside and a husky showed up in the yard. No collar, but I’d seen it tied up in the yard of a house a quarter mile down from us. I wasn’t worried about it. A little while later a panicked child came in saying the dog had killed two chickens and tried for a third. I caught the dog with our little dog in his mouth, shaking him for all he was worth. He dropped him on command, and I grabbed the scruff of the husky’s neck and marched him to our big dog crate. With Beckett gone, we had just pulled her crate out of the garage and the kids had cleaned it up to put it in the barn. Perfect. Crate the chicken killer. Turns out only one hen was dead, other had intestines visible but she was alive, and the nasty rooster I’d have nominated as the first to go was alive and well, albeit missing his tail. Liberty’s little dog whimpered away with his tail between his legs, merely humiliated.
The dog was covered in chicken blood. Just in getting him into the crate, I was now bloody as well. I drove up to meet the neighbors and tell them I had their dog and dead livestock. A young teen answered the door, and didn’t think it could possibly be their dog until she saw the chain, collar still attached, in her yard. She wanted me to return the dog. I told her of the dead chickens and said I needed to speak to one of her parents and wasn’t about to put the bloody dog in my van. After she argued, telling me about the worth of the dog and how upset her parents would be, I left, telling her that the dog was crated in my yard and would be there until someone came for it.
I got back home, the kids helped me get water for the animal, and we were still out there when the dad roared down the hill in his vehicle, a rage like I’ve never seen evident clear from the road. He tore into my yard, told me I had no right to lock up his dog, and grabbed the dog from the crate. I, far calmer than I’d have anticipated under the circumstances, told him it was that or shoot the thing since I have dead and dying chickens, and he asked if the dog had blood on him. I pointed out that it did and he told me next time to shoot it but never lock him up again.
I was floored. Shocked. I’m an introvert. I’ll avoid confrontation if I can. I’d have returned the dog but I feared for more dead livestock, likely a goat next time, and knew I have the right to defend my animals on my property. Yet the guy just told me he’d rather me shoot the animal that put him in a crate that was most certainly big enough to house him, especially for the half hour he spent in it.
That was the end of it. He roared away with the dog while my younger six kids and I, all witness to the conversation, stood and tried to process the absurdity of it all.
And then. Tonight Blaine was working on a vehicle in the yard and I heard him talking. Assumed he was on the phone. He came to the door and told me to come outside. There stood our neighbor, hat in hand. He introduced himself and apologized profusely for his stupidity.
I think I was more shocked than I was on Friday.
And then. He said he’d wanted to come Saturday but it had taken him this long to track down hens for sale. That it clearly isn’t the time to be buying chickens. He brought me three full size laying hens in apology.
Turns out, the daughter failed to tell him I had dead chickens, and just told him I had locked up their dog and refused to bring it back. By the time he realized, through what I said about shooting the dog because it was killing my livestock, and he saw the dead chicken and the bloody dog, he was already in a rampage and he didn’t stop to consider the circumstances. Makes a good bit more sense now.
By the way, the one hen lives. She still has a hole in her back. I considered putting her out of her misery but she seems unfazed. Weird animals.
Shaking my head at the whole thing – and super thankful that I don’t have an enemy for a neighbor after all. I’d half expected that would turn into something far worse before it was over. It took some major nerve to come and apologize like that. I’m impressed.
Oh, and he brought the chickens over in a dog crate. It was slightly smaller than the one I’d put his dog in. That blew my “maybe he thinks crating dogs ruins them” excuse right out of the water.