Two dogs on the loose created a gruesome scene at Swank Farms on
Tuesday morning after one leapt into the goat pen and killed seven
animals on the spot, said owner Dick Swank. Seven more were
seriously injured, and one of them has died since.
Hollister – Two dogs on the loose created a gruesome scene at Swank Farms on Tuesday morning after one leapt into the goat pen and killed seven animals on the spot, said owner Dick Swank. Seven more were seriously injured, and one of them has died since.
“Oh, it’s ugly,” Swank said. “It’s terrible.”
The dog outside the pen tried to attack Swank’s employees as they rushed to the scene, Swank said.
“They’re killer dogs,” he said. “They just went right for the throats.”
The Hollister Police Department responded to the attack at 9:02am, said Police Capt. Richard Vasquez. When they arrived, a ranch foreman had already killed both dogs with a shotgun.
“They had to shoot (the dogs), or they would have killed all the goats,” said Hollister Animal Control Director Julie Carreiro.
It’s too early in the investigation to release the dogs’ breeds, she said.
Carreiro said she’s trying to locate the dogs’ owners, who could be liable in civil court for twice the monetary value of the killed livestock. They could also face criminal charges of allowing a dog to roam at-large around livestock, which can be either a misdemeanor or an infraction.
Dogs often act violently when they gather in groups, Carreiro said.
“When dogs get into a group of two or more, there’s a pack mentality, and that prey instinct starts,” she said. “I’ve even seen Chihuahuas try to get into a pack and chase cattle.”
Carreiro also noted that the Swanks’ goat pen was “well-protected” by a 6-foot-tall fence, but the dogs climbed up bales of hay stacked next to the pen. Carreiro’s own animals have also been killed by packs of dogs.
“People need to put tags on their dogs, and they need to be kept under control,” she said.
Swank said the goats were part of the farm’s “goat walk”, an attraction for the general public. One of the goats killed had been a big hit with kids, he said, because it broke its leg several years ago and has been hobbling around since. Another killed goat was a mother that likely died trying to protect her kids.
Swank said that before the attack, he owned more than 50 goats. The surviving, uninjured goats are still in their pen, and the goat walk is still open. As a precaution, the bales of hay have been moved away.
“People don’t realize what their dogs can do,” Swank said.