Tuesday, July 29, 2008

rural missouri law

i had a comment regarding killing the other dog that pushed my buttons.
    "Yes, you are protecting your farm and family. You are also demonstrating that it is ok to destroy others "property." Too bad something couldn't have been worked out in a peaceful manner. Where these dogs strays? or someone elses pets?
    I am sorry for the loss of your chickens.
    Peace to you.

i spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the example i set for my children. of course i am demonstrating that it is alright to kill other peoples property. it is well within missouri law for me to kill any animal that is merely threatening my livestock let alone killing over half of them--for sport i might add. are they pets or strays? does it matter? they were threatening the wellbeing of my family. as assuredly as they would if they were attacking them directly.

to take the concept to an extreme; do you think it is ok to shoot someone who has broken into your home and is trying to kill your children? i am one of those people that could arrive on that scene with a gun--i wouldn't hesitate to use it. most statistics suggest that a gun in that situation usually gets turned on the home owner.
since getting the gun i have killed one groundhog and four dogs. they were all threatening my family's livelihood.

while living in santa barbara, san diego, san francisco, cologne and kingston upon thames i'd never thought that i'd own a gun. i have concluded that living here owning a gun is a necessity. intimately knowing the perspective of purchasing-all-my-food i never thought i would be in a position to need to defend it with deadly force. in-fact the debate as to whether we should even get a gun was long and grueling--especially with myself.

why did that comment touch my nerve? probably because the long process by which i came to own a gun and the inner struggles that were overcame to be able to wield it. i would never kill for sport and appall the idea of it. i do think that displaying to my children that i am a man of will, discernment and character is of paramount importance.

we are teaching our children how to provide for themselves on as many levels as we are able. obviously during a confrontation diplomacy is always the first course of action and violence is always the last. there is no reasoning with a confirmed chicken killing dog. the dog owners, if there are any, obviously don't have the ability to contain them. therefore that point is mute.

mostly that statement makes me feel judged. i won't abide being judged. i choose to not judge others--on any level. therefore i demand to not be judged myself. everyone is allowed their perspective and i welcome you voice it here. although, if you choose to judge me then please take it to your own blog.

maybe that wasn't passing judgment. maybe i'm just hypersensitive. maybe i want all my reader to be a bunch of yes-men--not true btw. in-fact my best friend is assuredly upset by my killing any dog. he is a consummate dog lover and would probably never see a reason to kill a dog. his comment on the subject was;
    "Whereas I hate the idea of putting any dog down, whether it's because of the irresponsibility of the owner, or a mis fortunate accident, I do believe it's your right and responsibility to protect your family and livelihood (livestock). In Montana, it's perfectly legal to shoot a dog even for just harassing livestock. I'm pretty confident most rural areas have the same allowances.
    It's unfortunate because even the best dogs get excited around any animal. But, do what you gotta do"--btw, i fixed all your spelling mistakes matt;p

in fact i like my ideas to be challenged. i especially like being given correct information. that is the beauty of exchanging information. i'm not scared to stick my neck out there and display my soft underbelly on this blog. but, if i feel judged i will call-it-out and request clarification.

please don't let this post scare you from commenting i really like comments.

are there any readers who provide a significant portion of their food from their land disagree that defending their livelihood by killing a chicken-killing-dog is wrong?

one final point;
my father-in-law lost three almost finished hogs (a large financial investment) to one of the packs of dogs that terrorize this road. it is a confirmed problem in this area and must be dealt with gravely.


Danielle said...

Joe says dogs like that end up taking humans down. It is just part of the nature of the unchecked pack that runs wild and has no rules. These types of animals should be hunted down before they mame a child. Seriously, these dogs are beyond rehabilitation. They are feral and they are self serving. Neither have a place in the midst of humans and livestock trying to live life. Are we "yes-men", definitely. We found ourselves in this very same instance last year. Not fun and not easy, but necessary.

Kathie said...

I think what you did while hard was the right choice. It is a matter of survival, period.

As for your children, I do think its a good lesson and I know plenty of folks would disagree.

I can remember being in the garden with my father when I was a child and watching him pitchfork a groundhog that was decimating our food supply. Was it a humane way to kill the animal? No, however nothing else was at hand at the time and it needed to be done. It taught me a lot, about my dad, about gardening, and about survival. It's a lesson that has had deeper effects than I'm sure could have been predicted at the time.

Sasha said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Any animal that threatens our food supply is a dead one, if I have any say.

IMO it's almost worse if it was someone's pet. Who would allow their animal to run around destroying other people's property?!

KatieKate said...

The issue here is perspective, I think. Time was, owning a gun (and using it) was a matter of livelihood. You hunt with it. You protect with it. You sport wiht it. Nowadays it's rare for, say, even half our society to grow up with this respect and understanding of a gun. They see it as something their Grandpa used. Or their rich friend who trophey hunts in Africa for wild game.

But guns are for intimidation, force, and sport. That's the bare truth of it. The abuse of guns has made them dangerous and a liability. And it makes one who uses them either a thug or a crazy man... or a farmer protecting his stock. Perspective.

Consider that the comment is coming from someone who does not know you. Your blog reveals maybe 10% of you and your family and your deep inner heart- the one that helps you make decisions. Dismiss it for what it is... a different perspective. S/he wishes there were a way to aviod the violence. Don't we all. But you are a farmer, a homesteader... and perfectly within your rights to protect your crop and livelihood.

If you are willing to stand behind your actions and can say so to your children, you must do it.

Alecto said...

First, I'm really sorry you experienced judgment. It's a miserable feeling and I don't think it belongs in the comment section (as you say, take it to your own blog). And as far as dogs and shooting them are concerned, in as much as I know my dogs, once they have tasted meat they must be killed or contained because they will do it again, it is wired into them no matter how domesticated or loved. And as mercenary as it sounds, any rural (or otherwise) dog owner allowing his or her dog to roam free has failed in his responsibility to his dog and to your chickens. I don't believe you should ever have been put in the position of having to shoot the dog in the first place (and I do love dogs very, very much).

TeamBettendorf said...

We recently moved to the Ozarks for a chance at homesteading. We brought our beloved dog Sara, with us. Every time we have looked at property and have had a chance to meet the neighbors we have told them "We don't know what our dog will do to your chickens but should she kill any of them we will replace them to your satisfaction and dispatch the dog so we never have that problem again."
That's only fair.

Now that we have our own chickens the same rules apply. So far Sara has not even chased them. Whew!! We would all be very sad but it would be necessary. Thanks for saving your neighbors the trouble of dealing with it.

Anonymous said...

I would like to apologize if my comment was coming across as judgmental. I did not intend for it to sound that way.

Peace to you.

pablo said...

While I'm not sure I could have done what you did, I don't object that you did do it. Yes, it might have been nice to find a different solution, but given the situation as you described it, I don't see how that was ever going to be possible.

I'm not sure Jill was judging you as much as joining the conversation. The world is full of different opinions, and we benefit by listening to all of them (well, except for Fox News).

KatieKate said...

Jill, it's a GOOD question. It's hard to have 'conversation' on the internet... but it's so necessary to have different perspectives and different views and questions! It's what keeps things honest. It makes every one think a little bit more about what they do and why... and that's not a bad thing.

Valerie said...

Danielle said exactly what I was going to say. Livestock killing dogs are a direct threat to your family, just like a loaded gun.

mamabug said...

that's what I said too -- that those same dogs could as easily attack a small child in the yard, especially if that child had food or thought "puppy!" and approached. Not that you guys would leave a child unattended.

there's a beautiful bobcat where I live - I've seen it many times, just feet away in the early morning, late evening and in broad daylight...

One day, while many were in the yard (8 & 9 year old kids, adults, etc) that same bobcat ran across the yard, grabbed two laying hens and dropped back over the edge of the creek canyon.

It bummed me out about the chickens as they clearly lost their privilege to run free after that (not my chickens so not my decision)... but what if that had been a toddler? They were big chickens and it took BOTH at the same time.

I think your stand is justified and applaud your reluctance while carrying it out. Hopefully, your dogs will help control the scene as they grow.

There's an argument to be made for finding the owner of the dogs... but only to castigate her or him for letting the dogs run wild. I doubt there were tags on the dogs, either.

Murph said...

Hi Karl,
I grew up hunting (for food, not sport)a bog hollow in central Pa. We always heard dogs barking and howling, but never saw them (guess the shot gun blasts kept them away). A friend of mine was hunting for deer with his bow in this hollow and got treed by this pack of strays that was 15+ strong. He shot/killed 6 with his arrows and his father came and shot at least 3 with his .357 before they ran. My friend was screaming in the tree for FIVE HOURS! You did what was right, especially with small children there.

dorkey5 said...

When I think about homesteading, these are the things that make it seem so hard for me. I can tell that the whole process of buying a gun was extremely well thought out...not an easy decision. It is a decision that a person can't judge without knowing that kind of life.
I think the life you are living looks so wonderful. It is not the life for me, if I'm being very honest with myself, even though it seems like something I might enjoy. I am a Little House girl at heart!
So, while I am not ready for all the challenges you face daily, I love visiting here. It is very rare that I don't pop in!
I wish your family well while waiting for Rome. I hope he arrives peacefully, and soon!

Wendy said...

It's really tough to put yourself out there and then have someone question your motives. It's not like you walked onto your neighbor's property and starting shooting willy-nilly and happened to kill their dogs. Those dogs were on YOUR property killing YOUR animals.

What's funny to me is that I suspect if you had told us about shooting a wolf or a coyote (or raccoon) who was kiling your chickens, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But because they were potentially someone's beloved pets, they should be excused for doing what a wild animal must do to survive, and what a well-fed PET should NEVER do.

For me, it begs the question of why one life is more valuable than another. Why are the lives of those two dogs so much more valuable than the lives of your chickens - the ones they killed and the ones they may have killed in the future?

I think there is no shame in protecting your property and your family from "intruders" and if those dogs who killed my rabbit EVER come back into my FENCED yard again and threaten my CAGED pets, I will make sure they don't walk out of the yard. Harsh? Maybe, but I don't think those dogs have more right to life than my chickens or my rabbits, and if they are going to kill my pets in my yard, I won't hesitate to ensure they suffer the same fate.

Maya said...

This entire discussion brings up some interesting questions for me. While I don't think you were out of line in protecting your chickens and your family's well being - I wonder how far we (speaking generally as a society)take the protection of property argument.

In my mind, it is one thing for a homesteader, living off his land and raising his own food to protect what he has-even if it means killing something.

But then I think of massive ranch operations in Montana and other states, where certain species (wolves come to mind) were all but decimated because ranchers were protecting their property.

Obviously in the case of domesticated animals gone rogue - the fault lies with the owners (if there are any) and us as a larger society for not properly spay/neutering. But with other wild animals that pose a threat to farm animals, is it equally acceptable to eliminate them in any instance? Or is there some litmus test...if you are raising animals for your own consumption and sustenance-then yes, if you are running a thousand head of cattle - then no?

It all comes down to livelihood - but there are measures. Food for the winter versus that brand new F350 or motorboat.

As someone above pointed out, the comments section isn't exactly the best place for a forum - but your post got my wheels spinning and I am curious what others think.

Kramer said...

I own several guns and have had them since a child. Maybe a Texas thing. We pretty much all have guns here.

However, I have never simply shot an animal simply to shoot an animal. If you shoot something, you better be ready to eat it, unless protecting livestock or food supplies.

I feel that people have long demonized the gun when in fact the gun is an object. An object that has been around for hundreds of years.

Whether I am homesteading, raising protein sources for other families or driving in the streets of Houston, I will have a gun. We can say that guns are the problems, but it is the individuals behind them that don't value life that is the problem.

You can't change that, and it is scary, so as for me and my house, we will carry a gun.

You did what is right by the law, and what is right by your family. Now you just have to wait 5 more months for some pullets to lay. Pitty.

Ben said...

I can't see how Jill's comment could be construed as judgmental. It's an interesting debate. We raise meat birds, meat ducks, layers, etc, etc. Knock on wood, we haven't had any dog problems. If we did, I'm really not sure what I'd do. We're friends with all our dog-owning neighbors. I'm not sure the strained relations would be worth killing a dog. I'd probably seek recompense and demand that the dog be kept off our property. If that didn't work... decision time.

Great blog, Karl.

becky said...

Hmmm--when I read the post I didn't even think twice about you using the gun -- it seemed so appropriate and natural in the situation that I was more worried about how you would be feeding your family given the loss of the chickens, and wondering if there was anything I could do to help. I know you're not asking for yes-men (or yes-women), or even additional commentary about the matter, but I completely thought it was an appropriate response, even with children present.

Ron said...

I'm with you, I absolutely would have shot that dog in a heartbeat. And, yes, it is unfortunate. But there just are not many natural controls in place nowadays.

I struggled long and hard with the idea of owning a gun, and the morality of killing critters, and all those tough questions too. One has to when they take such direct responsibility for the critters they raise, protect, and eat. People buying their food instead of raising it themselves are indirectly supporting a whole host of things... just not as visibly.

I think teaching kids a healthy respect for the balance of nature and the skills to protect their food conscientiously is a wonderful thing.


Jodi said...

I appreciate your explanation. I knew you had a valid reason, and considering the little I understand about you I didn't think you shot the dogs out of malice or sport. I was bothered, however, about the shooting; but I understood it.

My mom told us several years ago about the dogs they used to own. My mom's family was very poor and lived on a small farm in Colorado, near New Mexico. With 10 kids, there was little my grandfather's small wage could really purchase to sustain such a large family; so farming, and animals (such as, chickens and rabbits) were crucial. Even their favorite dog couldn't be allowed to live if he turned into a chicken killer; which unfortunately happened. The dog had to be put down; once a chicken killer, the dog wasn't likely to stop turning down an easy meal.

Anyway, thanks for the explanation, despite me not really needing it.

I also wondered if the black spots on your tomatoes might be a Phosphorus deficiency, which is the result of acidic soil.

Anonymous said...

I know this is late, and you are busy with the new babe, but I must put in my own two cents.
I'm a dog lover, and love my dogs to death, but even I, would have shot the dog if it tried to take out my chickens.
We had 30+ chickens a couple years ago, and an animal (not sure which kind), killed ALL of them. Had I been able to catch this beast in the act, I would have shot without hesitation. You do what you have to do.

Much love & Peace,

Tamera (aka Overproducktion on xanga)

: )

Nita said...

Congrats on the newest member of your family. He's gorgeous. I'm commenting here because this strikes a nerve with me also. I just posted about on-going problems we have on our farm, and stopped by to check on the baby situtation, and here is your post about the same thing.

I'm in total agreement, we all have to be responsible for what is ours, and if someone else is encroaching. I personally carry a gun. I have worked with people who were threatening, and I always known I might have to be the one that saved many. Luckily, I have never had to exercise this right, but I wouldn't hesitate in a second. I didn't use to feel so vulnerable until I had a child. Now that is the utmost concern I have, is for her continued safety.

I grew up around guns on the farm, and have never witnessed any senseless killing. So I don't understand the fear of guns.

We also live near a large liberal town, the criminals are rampant and sometimes come to our area to wreak havoc. The police are 25 miles away. We have to be able to protect ourselves from people as well as protecting our livestock.

I think you did the right thing, I'm a dog lover, but I make sure our dogs do not leave our property, they may not kill our chickens, but they might kill the neighbors chickens, so we don't take that chance, because I have a reasonable expectation that my neighbor should be able to protect his livlihood also.

Anonymous said...

There is a saying in the country that has to do with dogs getting shot. It's called the "three S" rule.

Shoot, Shovel & Shut-up.

I'm signing this FYI.

efamily_2004 said...

did u buy the chicken plucker.
or did u build it.

Robbyn said...

There is too much of a disconnect in the larger community between our food and our tables. You have made your back yard your storehouse, and your animals are not just pets, they are your children's food. I know a lot of folks that still have a problem thinking of the idea of anyone slaughtering their own animals, but many of these folks are not vegetarians. You're taking responsibility for defending what's yours...not just your family, but their food supply as well. It's not like your cow is likely to run off in the night to maim some pit bulls, either.

R. Sherman said...

Interestingly, I'm having a similar problem with my mother and some neighbors' dogs. My mom is 80; the dogs run wild and are aggressive.

We've done everything. Nice letters from my mom, complaints to the county animal control; complaints to the sheriff; nice and then more threatening letters from me, the lawyer.

The neighbors have demonstrated they do not care, going so far as to tell my mom to mind her own business, because that's why people choose to live in the country.

We've tried everything. The next step is shooting the damn things.

Bottom line: Yes, people should live in peace with each other. Yes, people should try to work out their disputes. But, when one side to a dispute -- the side that is clearly in the wrong -- consistently demonstrates an unwillingness to negotiate, then all bets are off. To fail to protect yourself and your family and your livelihood teaches a far worse lesson in responsibility to your children in my view.


BTW, I've been gone and am only now catching up.

nt moore said...

I admire pacifism, but deep down it just doesn't jive. If a mosquito bites me, I don't watch, I swat it.

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