Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's Trivialize the LGD: 12 year old Breeds Livestock Guardian Dog for "4H Project"

Livestock Guardian Dogs Falling Victim to the "Boutique Agriculture" Crowd
Hobby Farmers lower LGDs to Butcher Animal Status; Now bred like Pigs for "4H Projects"
Uneducated Media only Contributes to Problem

***** March 16, 2017 - Shanna Sharp must be having publicity withdrawals; she left me a corny voicemail that fluctuated from threatening to pleading, claiming she would sue me if I didn't take this post down in one week.  She subsequently spent over an hour on my website:

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….and claimed she'd be following up with an E mail and "a lawsuit".  To date: no E mail.  And no, I'm not taking down this blog post.

As for suing me for exercising my right to a professional opinion on one of the most inexcusable and stupid stunts I've ever seen with LGDs, and my Constitutional right to free speech?

 By all means Snowflake, Go ahead: MAKE MY DAY.

*****And another update 1/4/2017

A Sacramento news station has picked this story up and is also pimping it out like this is the new best thing for 12 year old kids to start doing. We truly have sunk to new lows in journalism, it appears.  You can reach them via their contact page here and leave a comment (I sent them the link to this blog, you can too) either using your name (I did) or anonymously. I have also contacted several Great Pyrenees rescue groups and alerted them to this.  Has anyone thought to ask how the hell the girl is going to care for this poor dog and her litter when she is at school?  Nah, that takes a reporter with a brain.

*****An update 1/4/2017

The war against the rampant, irresponsible breeding of LGDs still wages but we - and I mean many of you readers - won a small battle.  Thanks to the many readers of this post, who's collective outcry against this irresponsible choice of the Sharp family and the Calaveras Enterprise's less than prudent promotion of this act, I was able to write the publisher of the paper criticizing this, and he grudgingly agreed to take down the link to this article off of the Internet.  A public retraction his paper would be great but of course I doubt we live to see that.  The terse exchange I had with him, is printed in full below.  "Evil" and "nasty"?  Really, Bruce?  Or the hard ugly truth you don't want to hear?:
On Jan 3, 2017, at 12:32 PM, Brenda Negri <> wrote:

Why didn't you do some research into the grave responsibility entailed in owning and operating these unique and complex types of specially bred guardian dogs before you willy-nilly put out such gruel as you did on this highly irresponsible decision of this family to breed this poor dog?  Your article on the 14 puppy "Christmas litter" is disgusting and a showcase of irresponsible journalism.

Why didn't your reporter TALK to someone like myself who is not only an internationally published author on these types of dogs, but also has a long, legitimate and proven track record of experience with raising, training and using these dogs before your reporter wrote this piece of PC garbage?  What, too much leg work for them?

You could have saved yourself a lot of embarrassment.  Or was it just too much to ask?  You have no idea how shelters and rescues are bursting at the seams with dumped and unwanted LGDs because of stupid people just like the Sharp family.

Shame on you. 

My blog post and Facebook shares and posts on this have gone viral.  My blog gets 10,000-13,000 hits A MONTH.  This post alone has already gotten  over 2,000 hits and growing by the hour.  Rescue and shelter people all over the country, are in an uproar over this stunt, and slamming these folks left and right on social media.  And they need to be slammed for this, slammed and shamed into a hole.  

Several of us are in the process of notifying national 4H leadership back East demanding this woman's "leader" role be revoked over this ridiculous, irresponsible, incompetent choice she made.

You don't "sport breed" LGDs on a lark or like butcher hogs or sheep and this incompetent 12 year old has no idea how to raise these dogs.  You do NOT "just" put them in with stock and walk away for God's sake….  Too bad your reporter didn't do any research or they'd known that and maybe - maybe - have decided this was not so great a topic after all.  

Ah but it's too late now, the damage is done. Your editor needs to jerk this article off of the Internet.  You have come off looking like imbeciles.  How many more parents are now going to try this stunt with their own kids?  Will we ever know?
On Jan 3, 2017, at 5:59 PM, Bruce Kyse Bruce Kyse <> wrote:

1) I do know how shelters work I have a house full of rescued dogs and cats and my wife is very involved in shelter work.
2) I agree with most of your principles, but you are over zealous in your attack of this young girl
3) I am going to take down the story, but only because you have approached this in such an evil, nasty and unwarranted fashion. 
4) Shame in you!

Bruce Kyse

No Bruce, as said previously, shame on you for not doing the legwork that should have been done before you put this fluff piece out there.  Thanks for taking it down…the sooner the better…..scores of people on social media are in an uproar over this girl's bad choices and her mother's as well……and if you can't handle the truth that is your problem, not mine.


I didn't want to end this year on a sour note.  But when the media hands you a story so disgusting, so upsetting and so outright wrong as this one is, if you have a conscience, if you have any morals and ethics, if you love LGDs and fight against their misuse and abuse, then you have say something.  At least I do, as a responsible breeder of LGDs since 2009.  So here goes.

Yeah, another one of my infamous posts that will sear a steak from fifty yards.  Gird your loins.

A pox on this Calaveras County CA newspaper reporter for publicizing and pimping out this irresponsible act into some kind of fluffed up "feel good, fuzzy warm" Christmas story to sell a few copies of their damn paper.  They must be smoking too much of their clandestine home-grown green leafy product up there in the back woods of Central California's Gold Country, or else they are just that clueless, and I'm wagering it's more likely the latter.

Apparently no one explained to this uneducated, self entitled California hobby farming Sharp family and their PR kissing up reporter that LGDs are not butcher animals, slaughtered for meat at 1 year of age.  LGDs are a lifelong commitment.  You do not breed them - or any dog for that matter - as a "project" for a 4H club.  Bringing a litter of pups into the world is waaaaaay more work than just rearing up your next show lamb or butcher hog.  These dogs can live for 12, 14 years or more.  Oh, but they didn't think about that.

This is the trivialization of the Livestock Guardian Dog, American Style.  In 2016, it reached new lows, and this ill-bred 14 puppy litter put out by the Sharps, takes the prize.  Drum roll please.

You damn sure don't let a 12 year old kid breed an LGD, especially when she has absolutely no idea how to raise and train them appropriately, for a "4H project". I don't care how many rabbits, hogs or sheep she's bred, coifed and shown, dogs are not butcher animals and LGDs don't just stand in a stall and eat hay and fart all day.  They are on a whole different and more complex level.  But don't tell that to these folks.  As reputable dog breeders will agree with me, these people are what I wryly refer to as "lost causes"; they already know it all.  They can't be told because they are already experts in their minds.  These are the "throw away" people - people not worth trying to save or educate because they won't listen, they won't learn, and their ego dictates their every move.  In short, they are hopeless.  I take the gloves off with these types because they have it coming.

The mother of this junior puppy miller in the making, of all things, is a 4H leader - ah but then this IS California.  Enough said there.  Maybe the national 4H headquarters should be alerted to this abomination.

You can bet off the record, some if not most of this litter will end up as another shelter/rescue load of pups once this 12 year old realizes no one responsible, in their right mind, is going to buy a pup from her when she does not even know how to rear up an LGD, and the genetics here are one big question mark (see next paragraph).  Rescues are overflowing with unwanted LGDs coming from the same kinds of scenarios as this.

Thanks to the Sharp family of Mountain Ranch, California, we now have 14 more substandard LGDs entering the already diluted, suffering gene pool in America.  Gee, thanks guys.  Big of you.  Oh, and the owner of the supposed "Anatolian x Kangal" mix stud dog they bred the female to? Well it seems they don't own or run either of those breeds, according to their website.  Hmmm, according to their website, all they run are Akbash:  Galaxy Farms employes Akbash Guardian dogs for watching the flocks and Border Collies for herding purposes.   No mention of Kangals or Anatolians…..  So now we are left to scratch our heads even more and wonder just what this litter really is made up of: two breeds?  Three?  Four?  Does anyone really know?

As a native born and raised Californian myself, I know that area well, having lived and ranched in that area for years. I also have several customers up in that neck of the woods with working LGDs who tell me that the foothills of the San Joaquin are rife with "hands off, don't touch, don't socialize your LGD" mindset and hack hobby farmers who frankly don't know what the hell they are doing in terms of LGD use and rearing.  So the Sharps are in good company.  Groan...

You can rest assured, the pups are being sold for next to nothing, there is zero application process or vetting procedure for the puppy buyers, there are no health guarantees, and what this hapless family actually gives this litter in terms of preventative vaccinations, de-wormings, microchipping and more, is a crap shoot at best.  The training will consist of what, sticking them in a tiny pen with a lamb or two for 6 weeks and calling it good?

Oh kiss my ass it's good enough....

Once the Sharps start going through 40 pounds of kibble a day, the pups most likely be jerked off of their mother far too young and shunted out the door to their new, un-scrutinized owners who in turn are probably as dumb as the breeder.  No one serious about owning and using LGDs in a responsible manner is going to buy a pup out of a litter like this.  Keep your eyes peeled on Craigslist, the National  Junkyard of LGD crap - they'll most likely show up on there in due time.

No one wants to hear this, but it's a whole new ugly world out there in the Ag community filled with dumber than a box of rocks pseudo farmers just like this, who think it is their right - not privilege - to bring puppies into the world like its a game or a fad or a fling. They have trivialized and demeaned the Livestock Guardian Dog.

What a sad sad and sick way to end out 2016.  With all the press pimping, how many other 12-13 year old 4H kids now will rush out and say "Mommy!  I want to breed a Caucasian Ovcharka to a pit bull for my next project and be famous, too!" and the flaccid, spineless parents will be more than happy to cave in, in hopes of garnering their "very own newspaper publicity".  Gads… can just see it coming.

Are you a rescue person or a shelter employee or an LGD breeder who fights against puppy mills and bad breeding practices?

Read the link below and do something about it.  I did.  I commented on the article on the newspaper's website (it remains to be seen how long they allow comments to stay up before they close it off or jerk the whole thing down, but don't let that stop you from trying…).  I encourage all of you who have Facebook accounts to comment on this article on the original site below, and copy and share either this blog post or the link below, with as many LGD rescue groups as you can.  I was not the only one coming in and strongly condemning their act -  thankfully, several others are up in arms over this stunt, and they have the backbone to call the Sharps out on it and are posting comments decrying this huge mistake.  Anyone with a conscience should.

I think some serious public shaming is in line for this family and for this newspaper.

Absolutely no excuse for this. Shame, shame shame on you all.

4H project dog births super litter of 14 pups
Owner calls it the ‘best Christmas present ever’
By Dana M. Nichols Updated Dec 29, 2016

Sigga Sharp of Mountain Ranch got a lot more for Christmas than she expected.

Sigga, 12, spent the holiday tending to 14 puppies born just a few days earlier to her 4H-project dog, Hazel.
“I thought it was really cool they were born right around the holidays, like the best Christmas present ever,” she said on Thursday.

Hazel is an Anatolian-Pyrenees mix. Both breeds are used to guard livestock. At 90 pounds, she’s big enough to gestate 14 pups. Still, such large litters are extremely rare. The dogs more typically bear litters of six to eight puppies.

Sigga and her mother, 4H leader Shannon Sharp, said that Hazel went into labor about 9 p.m. on Dec. 22.
“By 10 o’clock she seemed done,” Shannon Sharp said. “Those 10 puppies were born in our dining area.”

So she and her daughter cleaned up. The pups were transferred into a whelping box in the garage. Before going to sleep, Sharp went to check Hazel in her whelping box.

“Sure enough, she had another one during that time,” Sharp said.

So she went to get Sigga. By 4 a.m., another three puppies arrived. “I felt like I was in a ‘101 Dalmations’ rerun,” Sharp said. “Sigga laid her sleeping bag out here in the garage.”

A week into their new lives, all 14 pups are doing well, Sigga and her mother said. That is in part due to the extra care they are providing to the mother and her pups.

“It is kind of labor intensive,” Shannon Sharp said of the six daily feeding cycles. During each cycle, the puppies are allowed to feed seven at a time to make sure each gets enough milk. “Sigga does the midnight and I do the 4 in the morning,” Sharp said.
Sigga said she’d never before seen a dog give birth. “Only in videos. Not in person.”

But she is an old hand with livestock. In fact, the series of events leading to the 14-puppy litter began with a 4H lamb project. She did well enough that she earned some cash when her lamb was auctioned at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in 2015. “I said, ‘You know what I could do with this money is get a dog and try dogs out,’” she said.

Sigga said she purchased Hazel as a puppy from Doug Joses, a rancher in Mountain Ranch.

She planned to show Hazel at the 2016 fair, but right at fair time the dog went into heat, disrupting that plan. She had eventually planned to breed Hazel anyway, so at her mother’s recommendation, she looked for a suitable male. They found an Anatolian-Kangal mix owned by Mountain Ranch sheep ranchers Mike and Billie Hammer. The first breeding did not take. So when Hazel went into heat in October, they tried again and the result was a double litter.

Sigga said she feels very fortunate.

“They make really, really good guardian dogs. The only training that they need is to grow up around animals. We have animals here, so we will make sure they are around them as they grow up.”

So come February, Sigga plans to move her 4H project to the next stage.

“I am selling them to people and I am keeping one of them to myself. But I am selling them as guardian dogs, not just as pets.”