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Feral dogs plague French Camp

Stray pit bull pack has killed more than 200 goats in town, latest in string of San Joaquin County attacks

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Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 12:00 am

French Camp livestock owners are on the alert after a pack of stray dogs — believed to be pit bulls — killed more than 200 goats in less than a week.

Since Friday, local residents have awoke to dozens — in one case, nearly 100 — goat carcasses scattered throughout their properties, left behind from vicious maulings in the middle of the night.

The killings in French Camp are the latest in a string of pit bull attacks in San Joaquin County in recent weeks.

On April 11, a Stockton woman was mauled to death. That same day, a woman could only watch as a pit bull brutally attacked and killed her cinnamon-red dachshund while walking at Lodi Lake. And three pit bulls are waiting to be prosecuted by the city of Lodi after escaping their yard and injuring another dog.

The maulings have spurred one Lodi employee to propose action that could possibly reduce assaults: an additional fee for owners of aggressive dogs.

But in the meantime, French Camp residents fear more pit bull attacks.

“This was surreal,” said Joe Mayar, manager of Stockton Livestock Auction Yard in French Camp. “It was horrifying, and they’re going to come back.”

Mayar discovered the gruesome scene early Monday morning when he saw at least six aggressive pit bulls viciously slaughtering his goats while piles more laid motionless nearby. When the incident was over and the dogs finally left, Mayar said 87 goats were dead and 73 more suffered injuries so severe that they had to be put down.

One day later, Benjamin Coming of French Camp learned that five of his goats were killed by a pack of feral dogs overnight.

“When I arrived, I didn’t see any dogs,” said Coming, who lives in an urban neighborhood less than two miles from Mayar. “All I saw were my dead goats. The (San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office) just told me they’ve been looking for the dogs but can’t find them (yet).”

Coming’s goats marked the fourth attack in five days in a concentrated area of French Camp.

The pack first struck one of Mayar’s neighbors Friday night, killing 40 goats and roughly 80 chickens and ducks. The following night, they killed roughly 20 goats on another neighbor’s property.

On Wednesday, animal services personnel armed with tranquilizers along with Sheriff’s deputies patrolled a creek in the area, according to Deputy Les Garcia, spokesman for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy shot and killed one pit bull, which was identified by two victims as being involved in the attacks, Garcia said.

Garcia added that the Sheriff’s office would keep searching for the remaining dogs.

But Mayar is upset that the Sheriff’s office never warned him about the string of nearby livestock attacks. Mayar said that if he’d known about the wild pit bulls, he could have protected his flock.

“We’ve been here since 1942,” Mayar said. “The Sheriff’s office knows we have a lot of sheep and goats here. They could have come and warned us. My employee and I would have camped out here to watch for the pit bulls.”

Contacted for comment, Garcia said he would need more time to review the matter and respond to Mayar’s concerns.

Mayar has a couple dozen goats left, so he’s moved them to a more secure pen. He’s also trying to prevent another attack by patrolling his property every two hours each night.

Coming is also hoping the dogs don’t strike again. After losing more than $1,000 worth of goats Tuesday night, only 15 remain.

Coming said dogs have never attacked his goats before, but he’s taken steps to prevent another mauling.

He is concerned for the safety of his neighbors, including children who walk in droves to a nearby school.

“It’s dangerous because there are a lot of kids around here,” Coming said.

Coming has three children who attend French Camp Elementary, which is one block away from Mayar’s property.

On Wednesday, after four separate pit bull attacks, the Sheriff’s office told the school about the wild pit bulls. The school then warned all parents and advised them to drive their children to and from school until the dogs are captured.

The Sheriff’s office also believes the dogs are hiding during the day and attacking at night. Several deputies will patrol the neighborhoods surrounding the school when students are dismissed, according to the school.

The Sheriff’s office has warned all surrounding schools, Garcia said.

Pit bulls have been involved in several attacks in San Joaquin County in April.

A pit bull mauled to death Claudia Gallardo, a mother of three, behind the gates of a Stockton home two weeks ago.

That same day, Julia Dare was walking her dachshund in a parking lot at Lodi Lake when a pit bull escaped from its owner and killed her dog.

Recently, Vanessa Foreman of Lodi was lucky. She was sitting with her black lab and sister at Starbucks when a man and his pit bull walked by.

Without warning, the pit bull attacked.

Foreman’s sister used her leg and the table to shield the black lab, which is a service dog for Foreman’s autistic child.

The pit bull’s owner, too weak to restrain his dog, finally managed to pull it away before it injured the black lab.

“If it wasn’t for my sister and the table, the pit bull would have latched onto my dog,” said Foreman, who added that she only walks her dog while carrying a stun gun after hearing about the recent string of attacks.

Jennifer Bender, animal control supervisor for the Lodi Police Department, hopes her idea could reduce dog attacks in Lodi.

She’s proposed that the owner of a dog deemed potentially dangerous by the city should pay $150 on top of a license fee. In addition, they’d have to show proof of homeowners or renters insurance, because some companies won’t cover owners of potentially dangerous dogs.

In French Camp, residents are looking for immediate solutions.

Coming said the Sheriff’s office won’t let him shoot the dogs if they come on his property — only if the pit bulls attack his family or his goats.

Mayar will continue patrolling his property, but he says he will continue to worry until the pit bulls are captured.

“I was scared,” he said. “They’re pit bulls, and if they get a hold of an arm or a leg or a throat, they’re not going to let go.”

Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at krisa@lodinews.com.

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  • barbara wells posted at 8:30 pm on Tue, Apr 30, 2013.

    barbara wells Posts: 24

    A couple days ago there was a different article about the attacks in French Camp. In that one it reported that the dogs were pit bulls, coyotes, half breeds and a golden retriever. That article as well as my comment about not all of the dogs being pits somehow disappeared. Any comment editor?

  • Dennis Baker posted at 1:21 pm on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    Dennis Baker Posts: 5

    While anti BSL, pro pit advocates celebrate what they consider victories. We mourn another death . Thus far this year there have been 11 fatal dog attacks in the U.S. In every one of these deaths only one breed (type) of dog has been the killer .The pit bull has been the only type of dog to take human life so far this year. Please Pray for the families and loved ones of the following .(Beau Rutledge, 2 years old)(Jordyn Arndt 4 years old )( Claudia Gallardo, 38 years old ) (Tyler Jett, 7 years old ) (Monica Renee Laminack, 21 months old) (Daxton Borchardt, 14 months old ) ( Ryan Maxwell, 7 years old ) (Isaiah Aguilar, 2 years old ) ( Esile Grace, 91 years old ) (Christian Gormanous, 4 years old ) (Betty Todd, 65 years old ) What kind of people find celebration while lives are lost. At this rate within the next 10 to 20 days We will be adding another innocent victim to this list. Please join Us to bring regulation that will reduce the mauling and killing.https://www.facebook.com/ProtectChildrenFromPitBulls?hc_location=timeline

  • Jacob McCandless posted at 10:32 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    vampares Posts: 1

    Your numbers don't sound way off. Where do you acquire your data from?

    Not to make any statements of generalization:

    Pit Bulls tend to attack other dogs.
    When people interfere with animal fights they become in the animals mind a "sneek attack".
    The animal then turns on the human as if it were a life and death situation.

    NEVER break a dog fight.

    What concerns me is animals who show aggression towards humans or "gaming" characteristics. These would be the "watch dog" and the "playful" dogs who attack the postman etc.

    We could say these dogs are breed for the characteristics etc. But if we go outside the realm of control we could consider them to be psychotic.

    These dogs are unfortunately breed for a characteristic that really is inseparable from a "killer instinct".

  • Merritt Clifton posted at 12:59 am on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    Merritt Clifton Posts: 7

    I have been logging fatal and disfiguring dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada since September 1982. Of the 4,088 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the past 30.5 years, 2,531 (62%) were pit bulls; 530 were Rottweilers; 3,287 were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, Cane Corsos, mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes. Of the 507 human fatalities, 255 were killed by pit bulls; 84 were killed by Rottweilers; 377 (69%) were killed by molosser breeds. Of the 2,263 people who were disfigured, 1,454 (61%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 304 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 1,855 (82%) were disfigured by molosser breeds. Pit bulls, incidentally, inflict about 10 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class. Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls are less than 5% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%. Just 81 large retrievers, by comparison, including all Labs, goldens, and mixes exclusive of pit mixes, have been involved in fatal or disfiguring attacks over these same 30.5 years, resulting in 8 fatalities and 26 disfigurements. Large retrievers are 7.4% of the U.S. dog population.

  • John Kindseth posted at 7:52 pm on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    John Kindseth Posts: 228

    And the Sheriff Moore says you cant shoot these killers coming on your property ??. Bury them deep ranchers !! I pity children going to school early in the morning. What is Moore thinking ??. 100+ dead amimals? He should be in charge of Homeland Security they don't do anything about killers either..

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 2:14 pm on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 1879

    Any cyclists in the area as well as pedestrians should be wary for the time being AND report anything they see.



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