EUGENE, Ore. — Authorities say two Rottweilers killed six sheep and injured eight others during an attack April 17 west of Eugene, Ore., on Fir Butte Road.
The dogs’ owners, Jose Paredes and Dylan Hatch, euthanized the animals and were each cited with a Class A violation of Lane County’s dangerous dog code. They face fines of $450 and paying restitution for the dead and wounded livestock.
Lane County spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge said it is not clear whether the same dogs were involved in a separate attack that left 44 sheep — 20 ewes and 24 lambs — dead in a pasture on Clear Lake Road the morning of April 2.
“It was the same general area, but we’ve been unable to locate any eyewitness accounts of the attack,” Ashbridge said.
That comes as a frustration to Hoot Paulson and his fiancee, Leslie Anthone, who own the flock on Clear Lake Road. Paulson, who runs H Paulson Livestock and Feed in Harrisburg, Ore., bought 30 pregnant ewes for Anthone earlier this year.
Investigators from the Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife determined it was likely domestic dogs, and not a wild animal, that attacked the flock. But without knowing for certain which dogs are responsible, Anthone said they are out roughly $50,000, which she calculated based on the initial investment and loss of future production.
“Basically right now, the hardest part for me is we have to rely on the kindness and generosity of strangers and our friends and family to rebuild what we started,” she said. “It shouldn’t be like that.”
Ashbridge said dog attacks on livestock are common in the area, and tend to happen more in the spring. It is something they take seriously, she said.
Yet Anthone and Paulson said they feel farmers and ranchers can use more support in cases such as these, based on their experience dealing with multiple agencies.
“If I could save someone else the aftermath of what we’ve experienced the last two and a half weeks, that’s what I want,” Anthone said.
Paulson said that while they appreciate the donations they have received from friends, family and the agriculture community, he emphasized the real issue boils down to protecting private property rights.
“Somebody’s private property trespassed on my private property, which was more than secure,” he said. “It’s no different than breaking into somebody’s house and stealing from them.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Anthone and Paulson. To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/sheep-herd-decimation.