A woman who breeds and raises chickens and dogs in Nanaimo is recovering from the emotional impact of discovering that more than two dozen of her birds had been attacked and killed by a neighbour’s dog.
Maureen Ward, who lives on Akenhead Road in Cedar, came home Monday to find the carcasses of 28 of her chickens. She said it was dusk when she returned to her farm and heard growling from a giant Schnauzer that had gotten itself trapped in a small workshop, a sign something was wrong.
“When I heard the dog growling I went to walk toward my shop and I saw a couple of bodies and I thought, ‘What the hell’s this?’” Ward said. “I go to the shop and he’s in my shop and he’s pulled the whole shop apart because he tried to climb the walls to get to two chickens that were in the rafters and he’d killed everything in there.”
Ward called the police and then grabbed a can of white spray paint before returning to the work shop.
“I sprayed him with white spray lacquer … I’ve lived on a farm for many years and I’ve seen stray dogs go onto people’s properties and kill things and you go to the people and you say, ‘Your dog did this,’ and they say, ‘No, he didn’t,’ and if you’ve sprayed it, you’ve identified it,” Ward said.
Several varieties of chickens were killed in the attack, including a cross breed from naked neck and silkie varieties that Ward breeds for pets. The cross creates birds with naked necks and large feather plumes on top of their head and Ward calls them “showgirls” after the costumes worn on stage by Las Vegas dancers. She said day-old chicks can sell for $25 each and adult egg-layers are worth about $50.
“It’s not even the money. It’s the hurt,” Ward said. “I’m to the point now where I can talk about it, but … [I was] crying every time I thought about it and every time I look at my Facebook page. I’ve got pictures of two of these particular birds that were showgirls … I’m going to have to change this because it’s going to drive me out of my mind.”
Ward, who posted graphic images and video of the carnage on social media, said she doesn’t want to publicly shame the dog’s owner. She just wants to know that he is empathetic about the incident and hopes he will also compensate her for financial loss.
“He’s my neighbour and I know him and I don’t blame him,” she said. “I just want accountability.”
Ward said she talked with animal control the day after the incident and was informed the dog had been designated as dangerous and must be confined at home or muzzled and leashed in public. Coastal Animal Services, which handles animal control services for the Regional District of Nanaimo, would not confirm the information because the incident is still under investigation, but did indicate a dangerous dog designation can be a consequence for dogs and owners from such incidents.
Ward said some of the birds, including chickens and turkeys that fled from the property during Monday’s attack, were still making their ways back home.
“There are still some birds that are in trees that haven’t come down yet because they’re still frightened a bit,” she said. “They don’t want to go back in their normal shacks anymore, where the murders were. They don’t like to be there anymore. They’re trying to relocate and regroup because the hens have lost their roosters and all that kind of stuff.”