While enjoying the country living near a small town, Dale and Carrol Woodard have resided at 230 South Cedar Street in Julesburg for almost 10-years. They enjoy their life on their 4-acre plot of land along with the small flock of Cinnamon Queen hens. The hens are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites.
Each morning, Dale takes a walk outside to the chicken coop to open the door allow the hens out, into a small fenced yard, he calls to the chickens, “Hey ladies, hey ladies,” and together they come barging through the small door eager to run through the fence gate and into the yard where they can begin their day roaming freely about the place, never venturing too far from the house and nearby outbuildings and never to nearby Hwy 385.
If Dale is out in his shop, the flock often stays close hoping he gives them an extra handful of feed as a treat.
While the hens are a source of eggs for the couple, they are more like pets, Carrol explained. The couple often had more than enough eggs for the two of them and they would sell their surplus to friends who preferred farm fresh eggs. Then things changed.
A year ago in August, while celebrating Dale’s 90th birthday with family, two dogs entered the yard and killed one of the chickens. The Woodards describe the offending dogs as one black pitbull mix and the second as a shepherd mix each weighing 60 to 70 lbs. Since then, the pit bull mix has returned three more times and always brings another dog with it. Once with a black lab, and more recently with a brown and white accomplice. Recent attacks occurred in August and last week. Since the first attack, the hens have almost quit laying eggs, “They barely lay enough or the two of us,” said Dale.
Although the Woodards have not lost a chicken in the last three attacks. Still strewn on the ground from last week’s assault was evidence of feathers from three hens who the dogs were able to catch and maul, pulling tail feathers and such from their victims.
The canines are known to enter the property from the north side or from the east side, and when
they shooed away they run north along South Cedar Street back to town.
The Woodards have reached out to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s office. They understand that the sheriff’s office can do little after the fact and they also would not want to see harm come to someone else’s pets, “or pests,” as Carrol was quick to say.
Dale and Carrol have said the sheriff’s office has told them that they have the right to shoot at the dogs to protect the chickens and themselves as they live outside the Julesburg town limits. “I’d hate to kill a dog, just scare them,” said Dale. “I’d hate to kill someone else’s pet.” The Woodards wish that
these dog owners would be responsible for their dogs and keep them from running at large.