Pittsburg County Ranchers Say Dogs Are Attacking Livestock
PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma - Several homeowners in the Jack Fork Mountain area say dogs are attacking their livestock. They say they've tried to work with the dogs' owners to keep the animals from impacting their livelihood.
One rancher said he heard a noise in one of his barns and went out only to find his heifer being attacked by some pit bulls. Other neighbors said they've also had problems with dogs, and they wish something could be done.
"As a rancher, you do expect coyotes, mountain lions, bears might get ahold of it, but you don't expect to walk up on what we did," said Janie Wilson.
Marty and Janie Wilson said when they went to the barn Sunday and saw what happened, they didn't think their heifer was going to make it.
Marty: "There was a dog on each side of her head."
Janie: "It just makes me sick."
Marty said he shot one of the dogs but the other got away.
The family said this isn't the first time they've had problems with their neighbors’ dogs getting on their property. In fact, they said another neighbor lost 20 chickens in the past month.
“I recognized them. This was a pit bull cross dog. White with brown spots and then a fox-looking terrier type dog,” neighbor Randall Squyres said.
A third rancher said he lost some of his whitetail deer herd when the dogs got onto his property.
“They ran them back and forth, we have it on video for 10 minutes,” rancher Kenny Ratliff said.
The Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office said there's no leash law in the county, but if a dog or any animal were to threaten someone's livestock or property, the owner can take matters into their own hands.
"Almost all the people know that if your dog goes to another ranch, or another place, and does any damage, they know they have your permission to kill that dog," Wendy Ratliff said.
But, the Ratliffs said, recently some new people have been moving in, and that's when they've started to see more problems with dogs running loose.
"Just because we live out in the middle of nowhere doesn't mean we don't want to live close to responsible neighbors," Wendy said.
Because an incident like this can cost them a lot.
Wendy Ratliff: "It's how we make our living. It's how we eat."
Marty Wilson: "We just want something done about it. We want it to stop so we can get back to our business and get on with our lives."