Friday, February 12, 2016

Livestock Guardian Dogs Attacked Biker Case Settled for $1 Million

The Robinson v. Legro case stemming from a bicycle racer who rode her bike through a band of sheep and was subsequently attacked and mauled by two LGDs, has settled for $1 million dollars.

There is plenty of fault to go around on both sides of this matter, including the race organizers, the biker, who should have shown better discernment and prudence, and not tried to finish the bicycle race, and the rancher's herder, who was oblivious to the attack when it happened, and had no control over the LGDs who were exceptionally aggressive towards people (read: most likely not handled or socialized much from birth).

More can be read here and in a very thought provoking blog post which brings up some excellent points.

Again, as I have for years, I continue to bang the drum for running stable, socialized Livestock Guardian Dogs who have been introduced to people and can be controlled to some degree; dogs who are not hyper aggressive or imbalanced; and teaching commercial operation herders the proper management of these dogs.  The operator/owner must run enough dogs and use enough herders.  Skeleton crews, poor training and minimal dogs only invite trouble, as the above proves.

These dogs are not hammers, nails or saws - they are not only "tools" to be tossed out there, used and then discarded.  As public lands use only increases, the days of running half feral LGDs are coming to a quick end, and those who continue to promote that will possibly find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

Handling LGDs does not destroy their work ethic or guarding instinct.  If they are well bred dogs, from reputable responsible breeders who know what they are doing, socialized LGDs are a far more safer route than those that are not touched or barely experience human interaction. It is not necessary to give up the "Old West" lifestyle of the sheep rancher if he will only learn to start running safe, stable dogs and teaching his herders how to correctly interact with and manage them.