Wild dogs kill more than half of Sunnyside rancher's sheep

Wild dogs kill more than half of Sunnyside rancher's sheep. (Courtesy: Ric Fernandez)

SUNNYSIDE, Wash.- Gene Fernandez’s sheep have seen better days, with only a few who survived attacks from dogs on the loose.

He said wild dogs will come by every couple of years, but these past weeks have been the worst he's ever seen.

“Out of about fifty they've killed almost 35 or 36 already and there'll be some of these that are wounded that won't make it too,” he said.

Since the middle of December, Fernandez said two dogs have attacked his livestock four different times.

Each time shrinking his flock.

At one point the sheep frantically tried getting away from their attackers but ended up piling into a tight space and suffocating each other.

Fernandez said the he's called the sheriff's office multiple times to report a Rottweiler and a German Shepard mix attacking his sheep.

However, deputies haven’t been able to find dogs matching that description.

“We're also going to set out traps to see if we can trap the dogs, so we can try to stop these attacks from happening,” Casey Schilperoort with the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said.

As of Friday morning the dogs have killed 37 sheep on the farm and they seem to always come back.

Fernandez has made upgrades to the pen around the sheep, but doesn't expect it to stop the attacks.

He said many of the leftover sheep are pregnant and mentally scared from the attacks.

Limping around as much as they can. Barely eating any food.

He said the losses will cost him around $60,000 in the long run.

“You lose all the lambs they would've had in February. Plus, they would've had lambs for maybe three to six years further and all that's gone,” he said.

Fernandez is hopeful the sheriff's office will be able to trap the dogs, but knows the rest of the flock are in danger until that happens.

And if it's happened before, he said he's sure it'll happen again.

“Once they start killing sheep, they come back again. They'll be back is what they always say,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez doesn't blame the dogs for acting this way but said they must belong to someone in the area.

If you have any information on the dogs whereabouts, you can call the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

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