Sheep slaughtered in Hilliers

Woman alleges neighbourhood pit bulls have been killing and terrorizing livestock in the area for some time

Shirley the sheep

Five sheep are dead and three others — pregnant ewes due to deliver in three weeks — are fighting for their lives after allegedly being attacked by a pack of marauding pit bulls in Hilliers last week.

The owner of the sheep is concerned children in the area are also at risk of attack.

One of the dead sheep — its name was Shirley — was raised as a pet by Amber Dawes’ son Taylor. The dogs, who live across the Alberni Highway from the Dawes farm, killed Shirley and four other sheep on Thursday, Taylor’s seventh birthday.

“They (the dogs) killed her on his birthday,” said Dawes. “They ripped her apart — she was the first to go.”

Dawes offered some photos of the carnage, but The NEWS determined they were too graphic for these pages.

“They (the dogs) chased them (the sheep) through the field and left a string of bodies,” said Dawes. “These dogs need to be put down.”

Dawes said she has been in contact with Oceanside RCMP, the SPCA and animal control. She also said this isn’t the first time dogs have come on to her property and attacked her animals. A number of quail were killed by dogs a few months ago.

“They (the quail) were my kids’ pets,” she said. “They (the dogs) had to chew through heavy-duty plastic to get to them (the quail).”

Dawes said she was under the impression the federal Livestock Protection Act allows for domestic farm animal owners to shoot dogs who come on to their property and are attacking their livestock.

“I don’t want to shoot the dogs, I love dogs, but it will be a kid next,” she said, adding that children must walk past the property containing the dogs every day to and from the school bus.

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman confirmed Tuesday police are investigating the incident involving Dawes’ dead sheep. He also said vicious dog situations are handled at the local government level, in this case the Regional District of Nanaimo. As for the Livestock Protection Act, The NEWS was getting conflicting reports about its relevance in this situation.

The regional district and its contractor for animal control services is also investigating. There’s a process to follow that includes collecting statements and other evidence, and talking to the owners of allegedly dangerous dogs. The RDN’s manager of building and bylaw services, Tom Armet, said Tuesday provisions of the Community Charter do allow local governments to step into situations quickly, if required.

“When you have a serious situation occuring, the regional district can apply for a seizure warrant,” said Armet.

Dawes said she has operated kennels in the past and she said she believes bad owners are to blame for the bad acts of their dogs.

“But once they (dogs) are on something, you can’t stop them,” said Dawes. “There are bad ones (owners) that make everybody look bad.”

Other reports from the same rural neighbourhood by hobby farmers indicate there have been problems with dogs — and not only pit bulls — chasing and attacking livestock in the area for months. Hilliers is a small community about 10 km west of Qualicum Beach.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Passengers bound for Victoria say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Island-filmed TV series gets third season

Crews returning to Parksville Qualicum Beach to film in the spring

Ladysmith marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Ontario licensed marijuana producer Aphria has reached an agreement to acquire Ladysmith-based… Continue reading

Sutherland steps down as SOS executive director

From receptionist to executive director

Views in The NEWS, Jan. 16

We asked: What is a necessity for you on a camping trip?

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

UPDATE: Police continue to seek missing Qualicum Beach woman

Oceanside RCMP requesting public assistance in locating Carmel Georgina Gilmour

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Corfield Street work continues in Parksville

Delays, alternating traffic can be expected

Most Read