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Bodyguard Bullying Hens

by Michele Burns
Original Text at Backyard Chickens Message Board

October 13 2003 7:07 AM
Well, I have seen it all.

I have been worried about predators getting into my yard with my hens. Racoons, skunks, crows, falcons, buzzards, dogs, etc... I was worried something would eat them.

Today my 3 hens were in the yard hunting for worms, eating the neighbors tomatoes, their usual things they do when out. Suddenly, I heard all kinds of commotion in the yard and looked out the back door to see what was happening. All I saw was my little Silkie backed up against my pool and a BIG huge mutt of a dog lunging towards her. Suddenly, from around the side of my pool come my Rhode Island Red and my Plymouth Rock running towards the dog.

All I could think at this point is, "My girls are going to be this dogs lunch!! AAGGGHH!!"

The 2 bigger hens fluffed their feathers up really big and began pecking this dog from every side they could get it. One on the side, one in front of it. Flapping their wings really fast, clucking away, and pecking like there was no tomorrow! Meanwhile, the Silkie ran for cover in the coop. The 2 bigger birds kept up with their assault of the dog.

By this point I was out the door, pellet gun in hand. Then, the dog turned and came after me. Of course, the hens saw this happening, and came running after the dog. The dog did not make it to me. The hens stopped it in it's tracks and continued to peck at it eventually drawing blood and causing the dog to YIPE in pain and retreat out of my yard.


My hens clucked all the way to edge of my property where they watched the dog run down the street. When they made sure it was gone, they came running, clucking all the way back to me. And the Silkie reappeared out of the coop and ran towards us, clucking all the way.

All 3 girls examined one another and hopped up in my lap examining me too. They each stood at my side until I went back in the house. I truly felt blessed to have those hens! Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have thought that hens would get the best of a BIG stray dog and protect me at the same time!

I know now, why I love them so much!!!!

Mrs. Puff Saved by Her Flock Sisters

October 13 2003 9:40 AM - Mending Fences and Sun Bathing
My yard is fenced in, but after closer inspection, the dog pushed a weak spot on the fence and got in that way. I have the fence company out reinforcing the fence right now so hopefully NO more dogs! This dog was some kind of shepard mix mutt...

The girls are out in the yard right now relaxing, basking in the sun!

October 13 2003 5:49 PM - Round 2
Update... Would you believe the dog came back for round 2?!?!?!

This time, I took care of it before the girls did... However, they were right there behind me.

October 14 2003 5:20 PM - My girls are in trouble
Uh oh, my girls are in trouble... that dog they ganged up on ended up being some new neighbor's around the corner from here and I got a visit tonight from the owner who asked me what kind of "rabid birds" I have that would tear up his "wonderful wouldn't hurt a fly" dog... He said me and my chickens will get ours... should I be sleeping in the henhouse? I guess his MUTT of a dog had to go to the vet for it's wounds...

I told the guy his dog had no business being in my yard and that'll teach his scrangly old MUTT from messing with my girls!

October 15 2003 6:57 AM - Perpetrators are Sienna, Mayflower, and Mrs. Puff

That guy actually had the nerve to make a police report about my chickens attacking his dog... The police came here this morning and while they were looking around and at the chickens, they said, "Now lemme get this straight, these 3 hens attacked a dog?!" They kind of snickered to one another and said, "The weight between the 3 of them doesn't even come close to the weight and size of the dog we looked at!"

I explained everything I could about what happened and they were still snickering and said, "Ok, so the alleged perpetrators names are Sienna, Mayflower, and Mrs. Puff?!" Meanwhile, writing everything down...

Before they left, they petted my hens and fed them some corn. The one officer said, "Ma'am, you shouldn't have a problem... If anyone will, it will be the gentleman with the dog who didn't have it leashed!"

October 15 2003 2:39 PM - Paintballs

It looks like I will be calling the police on him... someone shot paintballs at my hens and they are full of blue and pink paint dots!! Does anyone know if that comes off and how you get it off???

BOY, am I mad!!!

October 16 2003 5:15 AM - Big Bad Chickens
Well, I live in Cleveland Ohio.

I called the police yesterday when I found my hens splattered with paint. They came out and had already heard about the earlier complaint and they were kind of quirky and said, "So these are the big bad chickens that assaulted a dog?!" I replied, "Yep, this is them with new colors gracing their feathers..." The officers looked at one another and laughed. They then proceeded to take photos of the hens. They both kept shaking their heads. They went up to that neighbor's house to ask if he had done it and of course he said, "No, I would do no such thing." They looked at the dog too and came back to my house.

They were puzzled.

"Ma'am we have to call our superior officer because we don't know what the charges would be...vandalism, attempted murder of a pet, etc...we just don't know." Their superior officer and a couple other officers arrived at my house. They could NOT believe what has been going on.

The officer in charge said, "Never in my 22 years of being a police officer have I ever heard of chickens assaulting a dog or anyone retaliating by shooting the chickens with paintballs!"

I mentioned what someone did in an earlier post that the paintball gun shoots with enough force to kill a chicken and he agreed. They are forwarding the report to the prosecutor today for charges.... because they had no clue what to charge the guy with.... and the plot thickens...

I think I need some of those chicken diapers so I can bring the girls in the house.

October 17 2003 4:42 PM - That feeling you were being watched, followed
AGGGHHH! Just a while ago, I went out to the store. Locked up my house, locked up my gates, etc... like I normally do. I got to the end of my street and realized I forgot something. So, around the block I went and parked on the street by my house.

Did you ever get that feeling you were being watched, followed, someone was around???? Well, I had that feeling.

I walked in my gate quietly and up my driveway. Low and behold there was that TROLL of a neighbor feverishly snipping away at my chicken wire, trying to get into my coop!!!!!!! I screamed and LOUDLY too!

He turned, ran, and up over the fence next to my coop and POOF, he was gone!

Thank God, I not only lock the coop, but the henhouse as well. I can't imagine what he was going to do, but I don't want to find out. I brought my girls inside and they are running around in a playpen right now like I am having a sleepover!

So, now I am waiting for the police to come here! The clincher, his MUTT of a dog was out on the sidewalk when I pulled up and it growled at me! AGGGHHHHH! Does anyone know if I could electrically charge the fence around my yard?!?!?! He sure could use a good jolt!

October 18 2003 9:49 AM - That crazy chicken lady is out to get me
Hello all, thanks for the kind words.

We did have the police out last night again and they escorted me up to this guy's house and when asked if he had been in my yard near my coop, he proclaimed, "That crazy chicken lady is out to get me! I don't know what she's talking about!" The police really couldn't do much because there was no proof he was in the yard. They advised me that I do have the right to protect my property and myself and they repeated that several times. (The way they were looking at me was like, "Lady, if I were you, I would shoot him if you see him on your property by your chickens.)

I kept the hens in the house with me last night in a child's playpen. They of course, thought it was the greatest thing in the world to be in the "big house." They did not sleep until I went out of the room and went to sleep myself. This morning, I woke to find that they escaped the playpen and were eating Cheerios in my kitchen, off the top of the refrigerator (They pecked through the box.)

Last night we also found that someone shot out our lights in our backyard by our chicken coop. (Hmm, I wonder who it was.)

Today, I talked to the police again and a member of the local Humane Society that both told me to post a sign on my fences that reads, "Private Property, No Trespassing. Violators Will Be Prosecuted." The Humane Society also took the police report numbers and will proceed to press charges themselves against the TROLL.

My friend owns a store and just installed new cameras in his store. He and my husband are installing his old cameras on my property now. There are 4 of them and they hook to a TV. so I can constantly monitor my girls. I also made a sign on my computer and posted it on my fence, door, and chicken coop door that says, "Smile, you are on candid camera!"

I also sent an email to the local paper, The Plain Dealer, about what is going on and the horrible thing this guy is doing. The police have stated that they will bump up patrolling my street. The Humane Society advised that I not let the hens out without me being out there and that it might be a good idea to keep them in at night for awhile...some people are just plain old shocking.

October 18 2003 10:44 AM - The bodyguards and their ward

These are the brute hens...Imagine them beating up a BIG dog!!!

And the Silkie girl they were protecting...

Their Ward

October 21 2003 7:29 AM - Guess who went to jail today
Guess who went to jail today?!?!?!??!?!? Animal cruelty.

Apparently, the TROLL's dog attacked a neighbors box of fluffy kittens and when the Mommy cat fought back, he shot her with a .22 and killed her... The police stopped over to say my hens will be safe for awhile and they will let me know when he gets out!!!

Ah let me tell you, the hens they are rejoicing! (I have to go to court against the TROLL for his antics against my chickens on Monday next week... wish me and my hens luck... Oh, the hens are going to court too. The prosecutor is asking them be brought in for SIZE COMPARISON!) Oh boy...

October 21 2003 5:24 PM - The dog is gone
Well, "Ding dong, the dog is gone, the dog is gone, the dog is gone, ding dong the BIG old dog is gone!"

Today, after being visited by an attorney who is helping me via a call from the Humane Society, a visit from a reporter from the local paper and news, and a visit from several people from the Humane Society, the TROLL's MUTT dog was removed from his property! After the death of the Mother cat and hearing what has been happening with my hens, the local news was intrigued after getting phone calls from neighbors, the Humane Society and the attorney who offered to represent me and my hens and came out here themselves to see what was happening.

They went to the house where the TROLL lived and saw what his dog was all about. The dog, jumped a 4 1/2 foot fence and chased the reporter to his truck! The reporter then watched as the MUTT chased down another cat.

Late this afternoon, Animal Control with 5 officers removed the dog who was carousing the street. They ended up having to tranquilize it to get it; it was being that MEAN! HURRAY!

The local news filmed the hens in action during a dust bath they were enjoying. They are also going to cover the court happenings Monday.

I will let you know what happens...

Oh, the kittens are motherless, but the neighbors have decided to take the kittens in shifts and share "parenting" them for now.

October 22 2003 5:52 AM - Home of the huggable hens
I will be bathing the girls for their court appearance. Does anyone know if BIG hens sit still for baths or will I have a fight on my hands? Mrs. Puff the Silkie sits still, so I am not worried about her, but the other 2---hmmm.

The attorney stated that either he or his assistant will give the hens treats in court out of their hands (or even ask the judge to do it) to demonstrate how friendly all 3 girls are. He has also requested the dog be brought in as well to demonstrate how UNFRIENDLY it is and show how it behaves when it sees my chickens. Hopefully, it doesn't cause my girls to have "flashbacks."

At any rate, an update on the kittens. There were 6 kittens all together that were attacked. One of them was killed on the spot. Another one this morning we aren't sure if it's going to make it or not. The dog tore up its leg pretty bad and this morning the kitten didn't look too good. My neighbor has it at the vet right now, so I will update with whatever news comes back.

Also, one of my neighbors (I don't know which one.) posted a BIG HUGE sign in front of my house between last night and this morning that says, "HOME OF THE HUGGABLE HENS - 2003." And there was a "thank you" balloon and a big pink ribbon attached to the sign. I don't know why they did that, but I guess because the hens chased that mean dog away.

October 22 2003 6:09 AM - Thank you
Oh, I want to thank everyone for their kind words throughout this ordeal. It's because of all of you and your support and your insight, that my hens and I made it this far. You have all definitely added something to my life and the lives of my hens! Thank you!!!

October 23 2003 5:24 AM - Bail
EGADS!! The TROLL is being released today on bail. Oh boy, time to bring the girls in the house. All the neighbors are going house to house to let everyone know he will be out. Oh, the kitten that had her paw almost torn off made it through surgery. She lost the paw, but according to the vet she is getting around just fine with 3!

October 23 2003 7:05 AM - Grandpa is going to have your chickens in stew
Well, the really really bad part is since the TROLL has been in jail his daughter and her kids have been staying at his house. Last night one of his grandkids told my 7 year old son, "Yep, my Grandpa is going to have your chickens in stew!" My 7 year flipped out and came running in the house crying, "Mom, they are gonna try to eat Mrs. Puff!" He was sooooooo upset.

I did take the sign down. The police said they will bump up patrols, but I think since its YUCKY outside to begin with, the girls can come in the house today.

October 24 2003 6:02 AM - Death to chickens
Well, he is out. I didn't see him all day yesterday, but he is out today and making quite a fuss. According to my neighbor, he walked past my house earlier yelling, "Death to chickens!" I wish I would have heard him.

The hens were inside all day yesterday and all of last night. (Picture if you will, 3 hens piled on top of a Lazy Boy recliner together...) But, I am going out today with the girls. They are all going to get baths either Saturday or Sunday for court on Monday.

October 25 2003 3:55 PM - Tinged green
Well, today was a nice day to start off with. So, the girls and I decided to go outside.

I keep a few waterers scattered about the yard just in case the girls are thirsty. Now, mind you, the girls haven't really ventured in the yard by themselves in awhile. So, I decided to check the waterers-wash them, refill them, etc... The first one I picked up, the water was tinged green. I thought, "Hmmm must be algae." The second one I grabbed was the same way, also the same for the third.

When I poured out the water, I smelled the very strong smell of antifreeze. I had my hubby come check the water and sure enough, someone (Hmmm, I wonder...) put antifreeze in the waterers.

Since the girls haven't been out in the yard, I haven't changed the waterers so he must have put the antifreeze in there before the cameras... The police are getting very familiar with coming to my house. Once again, no proof so he's still running about the neighborhood.

October 26 2003 5:43 PM - Ready for the public

... and nothing but the truth
Updates...a freshly washed and dried trio of hens are all ready for their early morning court appearance....wish us luck. The hens are once again sleeping in the playpen...

October 27 2003 8:45 AM - The 2 bigger hens stepped in front of Mrs. Puff and stood firm
Well, just got back from court. I have never seen anything like this in all my life. We put the hens in separate pet taxis and took them to court. We got into the courtroom and it was packed full of people. Neighbors, reporters, strangers, etc...

Inside the courtroom, my attorney had set up a small gated area like you would do for a baby that you didn't want to get too far but so you could still see them. The attorney and I took each hen out of the pet taxi and put them in the gated area. Meanwhile, across the room the TROLL is whispering under his breath, "GEEZ, you would think they are f***ing kids or something!" "That's my favorite food, don't they look plump enough to eat?! Damn things!" And on and on he went... also every now and then letting out what sounded like a "cluck."

The judge came in and court began.

The hens were liking this because at this point, the 2 bailiffs were hunched over petting them. My attorney started off by quoting one of the laws in the City of Cleveland regarding keeping fowl. He then went on to quote the City of Cleveland's leash law and the law that pertains to dog attacks. When he finished, he went over and scooped up Mrs. Puff and put her on the table in front of the TROLL. Meanwhile stating our case the whole time.

Mrs. Puff walked on the table making her little Mrs. Puff noises. And the TROLL said under his breath, "Now I should twist it's head off and eat it!" My attorney heard him (along with all the courtroom.) My attorney stopped and said, "Excuse me, what did you say?" The TROLL stopped and looked at him and replied, "Nothing." My attorney said, "No I distinctively heard you say something." The TROLL said, "Nope, you're mistaken."

My attorney continued. He took Mrs. Puff off the table and put her back with the other hens. He then picked up my Plymouth Rock and carried her around. Feeding her corn from his other hand. He then put her back and fed corn to all the hens. He then asked the judge at this point, "Your honor, I am asking that you see these birds up close yourself if you wouldn't mind."

The Judge stepped off the bench and my attorney gave him some corn, which he proceeded to feed all 3 hens out of his hand. This made the TROLL really really really mad, "For Christ's sake!!! They are dinner! They aren't pets, they aren't kids, twist off their heads and they become lunch!"

At that point, he was told to be quiet and my attorney went to the table and picked up a copy of this post and quoted some things from it and from some of you. The Judge who returned to his bench at this time said, "And Mr. Keenan, where were these quotes obtained?" And my attorney told him proudly, "Your honor, they actually have a website devoted and governed strictly by backyard chicken owners and enthusiasts. (Staring at the TROLL). Obviously, my client Ms. Burns is not the only person across the land that thinks chickens are pets."

Court went on awhile longer and they asked that the TROLLS dog be brought into court. Well, that was it. The dog came out the door and made a B-line pulling a bailiff behind it towards my hens. Barking, growling, showing it's teeth.

Of course, this got my chickens upset. Feathers started to fluff, hens stood together, low voice clucks were heard. The 2 bigger hens stepped in front of Mrs. Puff and stood firm. The dog was taken to the other side of the court. This dog barked and growled and went absolutely nuts for another 10 minutes before the judge finally had it taken out.

Then the Judge addressed the TROLL. He asked his opinion of the situation. The TROLL replied, "Well, her damn birds, it's all about these damn birds! I don't give a rat's behind about her birds! Her birds attacked my dog and left marks on it!" And he continued a tirade about my hens. Then my attorney asked him some questions, which he nastily answered.

Then my attorney called up the lady who's kittens and mother cat had been attacked. She cried on the stand the whole time she was up there describing how Mother Cat fought to defend her baby kitten which as she described it, "flung bleeding and lifeless from the dogs mouth, tufts of fur falling beneath the dog as he shook the life out of it." She was very descriptive in her account. By the end of her story, even the judge was shaking his head.

A few more people were called up to talk, like the animal control officer who came out to remove the TROLLS dog, a humane society advocate, and finally me. My attorney also showed pictures of my yard, the fence, the chickens walking in the yard, etc... Then my attorney concluded.

At this point, the TROLL could make any comment he wanted and of course it was something smart. "I think people should eat more chicken! That's all your honor."

Well, the judge began calmly by addressing me, "You have very nice hens and I am very impressed with their instinct to protect themselves and the smaller one amongst them. You are to be commended on your behavior and the behaviors of your hens. While I do know these are farm animals, it takes considerable work and effort to raise them. Until today, I was very unaware that there are so many people dedicated to backyard chickens and didn't really consider them as pets or a hobby for that matter. I was actually unaware as well that they came in more shapes and sizes then the typical white chickens you see commercially. Thank you for bringing your hens in for all of us to see, it truly has been enjoyable."

Then he addressed the TROLL. "Mr. McMahan, you should be very ashamed of yourself and the behavior of your dog. The very thought that you consider those hens dinner or lunch show me that you aren't a very caring person. The behavior demonstrated by your dog shows me that you have not only subjected your neighbors to your reprehensible behavior, but your dog as well. Your dog being a product of what you raised.

While you may consider a dog a pet, some consider more unique animals as pets as well. The thought that your dog almost killed someone else's beloved pets should have drawn an apology out of you and not an attack. While the hens did escape injury or death from your dog, there is still the kittens who are now Motherless and the owner without her cat of 5 years that need to be remembered here. It's a shame that the owner has to live everyday seeing the attack on her cat and kittens.

I own dogs and the thought of my dogs killing another's animals would break my heart and make me think differently about that dog. But, since it appears you condone the dog's behavior and somewhat "egg it on" to behave badly, it is therefore a product of the environment in which it was raised. Which, Mr. McMahan, sounds like you did poorly at. It's people like you that should NOT be allowed to own pets at all."

The Judge went on for awhile longer. And then proceeded to sentence him. "Mr. McMahan, you are no longer permitted ownership of that dog. If the dog can be rehabilitated and put up for adoption, it will be. If not, the dog will be put to sleep. You are not permitted to own any kind of pet within Cuyahoga County ever again. You are to serve 180 days of jail, 30 of those suspended, serve 1 years probation and perform 120 hours community service in a job that helps animals. Kittens and hens will be included.

You will also stay at least 500 feet from Ms. Burns and her property and her hens. You are to undergo a psychological evaluation and depending on the outcome, subsequent counseling. You are to also provide your neighbors including the 2 victims here today with letters of apology regarding your behavior. While on probation and doing community service, if I find out any of those hens died or met with injury, I will hold you responsible and you will serve a longer sentence."

The Judge then petted the hens one more time and that was it! HURRAY FOR THE HENS!

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