Mass sheep slaughter in Eugene unusual, expert says

Lauren Rubin said this is abnormal behavior for any predator, especially dogs.

Posted: Apr 4, 2019 6:48 PM
Updated: Apr 4, 2019 9:13 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The killing of dozens of sheep on Clear Lake Road in Eugene earlier this week has raised a lot of questions in the community.

Lauren Rubin with Training Spot said it is evolutionary for animals to see, chase, kill and eat. What's not normal, according to Rubin, is for animals to commit a mass slaughter like the one that happened on Monday in Eugene.

RELATED: Dozens of sheep killed in suspected dog attack

Rubin has worked with animals for years, and she said it's hard to believe that dogs would cause this kind of carnage.

In total, 41 animals were ripped to shreds -- some of them with holes in their skulls.

"It's very abnormal for most predators to do any sort of mass killing and not consume, because it is evolutionary to eat what you kill so you survive," Rubin said.

She said dogs have evolved for a plethora of purposes, but at the end of the day dogs, like people, are independent.

"So we've bred dogs for all these individual purposes. The hard part is that depending on the breed you get, you end up with certain components of it or not. The other hard part is that each dog is individual," Rubin said.

But, dogs or not, farmers agree that an attack like this is devastating for a family and a business.

"It is extremely devastating to lose your breeding ewes, which could be prodigy and used in the years to come, so it can be catastrophic to lose the females in the herd," said Paige Boyce with the Lane County Livestock Association.

Boyce also said insurance is tricky when it comes to recovering from such a loss.

"It is very difficult to get insurers to actually cover the livestock because it is so prone. It is difficult, and it can be costly, but it can be done," Boyce said.

Eleanor Tempin with the South Willamette Veterinary Clinic told KEZI 9 News that llamas are an effective and inexpensive way to protect herds because they will fight off dogs, coyotes and other predators.

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