7 sheep killed in pit bull attack - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

7 sheep killed in pit bull attack

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Seven rare, prize-winning sheep died in a pit bull attack Tuesday after a dog got loose from what neighbors describe as a breeding operation next door. The owner of the sheep worries a person could be attacked next.

"I came down to feed them," Tejas Ranch owner Brent Neighbors said. "Nobody met me up here to eat their feed and I just started walking the pasture and seeing one after another dead."

Neighbors said the seven dead sheep were more than pets. They were his livelihood--because until Tuesday the rare Desert Painted Sheep were worth $500 to $1,000 each.

Out of the six that lived, one's face was mauled and another one can't walk on one leg. Tuesday night a sergeant with the sheriff's department came to take a report.

"We were turned around looking at some dead animals and we turned around and the dog was on this side of that tree right there, snarling and growling at us," Neighbors said. "And he shot it."

The Wood County Sheriff's Department confirmed that their sergeant put the dog down Tuesday night. Because only livestock died, the dog's owners can't be held criminally responsible. The department said if it had been a child or an adult those owners could be facing charges.

Neighbors is worried it'll come to that.

On Wednesday no one was home next door, but we spotted at least one other pit bull. Neighbors says that dog killed a little girl's pot-bellied pig a month ago--and recently--another one of his sheep.

"I raised them all from pets, babies you know, and it's just heart-breaking," he said. "Just imagine if you came home one day and your favorite pets were mangled. Some dead and some running around half-dead. How would you feel?"

The fact that the dog was shot on sight is unusual. More often in these cases a dog will kill an animal, the dog's owner will have to go to court and a judge decides whether the dog gets put down.

Tuesday night the sergeant determined the dog was an immediate threat which allowed him to put it down immediately.

Neighbors could file a civil case at his own expense, but there appear to be very few laws protecting the owners of live stock in cases like this. He will probably not be able to get help from the county.

CBS 19 also tried unsuccessfully to contact the dog's owners by phone.

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