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Published: Wednesday, 5/19/2010

Wood County gets bill for dogs hurting goats

BOWLING GREEN - Wood County commissioners are being asked to pick up the tab for injuries to eight registered breeding goats caused by two German shepherds.

Under what at least one commissioner deemed "an antiquated law," the board yesterday learned it will be responsible for a yet-to-be-settled bill of $1,075 to $2,925 for injuries to the goats belonging to Walter Davidson.

Deputy Dog Warden Andrew Snyder told commissioners that on Dec. 7, two German shepherds got into Mr. Davidson's pasture and barn on Dunipace Road and cornered his goats in the barn. Ten of the goats were killed, Mr. Snyder said, adding that several were suffocated in the melee.

The deputy dog warden said Mr. Davidson's insurance covered the 10 goats that were killed but not the eight that were injured. The owner estimated the animals' total value at $29,200.

Commissioner Tim Brown said the law was likely created to cover the costs for farmers when wild animals like coyotes killed livestock, but he thought it was an antiquated approach when someone's pets killed another's livestock.

"Why should we even be involved with this? It's between two private parties," he said.

Dog Warden Rodney Cook said that while state law requires the county to pay the bill, the county prosecutor can and will seek to recoup the damages from the dogs' owner, Wesley Starkey.

Mr. Snyder said Mr. Starkey was cited for two counts of failure to confine dogs and two counts of failure to have the dogs' tags worn.

Claims for killed or injured livestock are few and far between in Wood County, officials said.

Darcy Wilhelm, the county's fiscal manager, said the county last paid a livestock claim in 2004 when a Labrador retriever and a border collie killed three rabbits. That cost the county $34.45.

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