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Dog Proof Shed and Pen

 
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I am disappointed to find out that there is a person with a pack of pitbull dogs that have a history of attacking livestock in my new homestead location. They have a pen that is about 50x50 and only a four foot fence, most of the time the dogs are all inside. Supposedly they have gotten out of their pen and killed numerous animals in the neighborhood. This is one of the few people in the subdivision without livestock. There are six of them and they seem to take on a pack mentality and the owner claims the older female dog has mauled a PERSON before! I told them if their dogs end up on my property and after my livestock and I can not catch them to bring them back I will have to shoot his dogs. I told him I would like to help come up with a solution to his fence that his dogs jump over and would help with it if I can.
So my questions are how to create a fence that pitbulls would not climb or jump over. WOuld just replacing the four foot field fence with six foot welded wire work? Or would these dogs need an electric fence to keep them in a pen?
More importantly what can I do for my animals to create a safe shelter these dogs can not get into? I NEED a shed that would be safe for them at night and would also like to make a secure pen so they can be outside but not in their pasture when I am not there. I am thinking of a small pen with a six foot tall metal fence and a roof made of either a tin roof or metal wire, on the outside of this pen I would put several strands of electric fence to keep the dogs from getting to the goats and ducks while they are put up. I am thinking one at about ground level, one at about a foot and one at two feet. Would that be enough to keep these killer pit bulls away from my animals.
I am buying purebred, registered show goats and would not only shoot any dog that I see trying to harm them, but also have the dogs owners face any legal ramifications to the fullest as well as exercise my rights to defend my property if they so choose to trespass.
 
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This isn't a great situation to be in.  I can tell you this.  I raised "pitbulls" for many, many years.  Remember, above all else, they are still just dogs.  People that haven't been exposed to them seem to impart almost supernatural abilities to these dogs, mostly due to the media. That isn't to say they can't be dangerous.  Any pack of dogs can be dangerous, and a pack of strong athletic dogs can be very dangerous indeed.  My point is just that you don't need to build Ft Knox to keep them out.  I kept my dogs in a kennel with a 6 foot chain link fence and never had one get out.  As far as your own enclosure goes, a 6 foot fence should be all you need, but some dogs can and do dig.  To be extra sure, you could run a single strand of electric wire a foot or so above the ground.  If it is powered by a horse charger and not one of those cheap pet store ones, one zap is all it will take.  

Another thing I would do, and diligently, is call animal control every single time you see one of their dogs outside their area.  If they have attacked animals before, it's hard to believe nothing has been done about it yet, and if they attacked a person, some action would surely have been taken.  A person that owns a "pitbull" that mauls someone is in very deep water.  They will almost surely be sued and the dog put down.  If that didn't happen, I think someone is exaggerating the stories to you.  People that owns dogs like that are often the type that think "killer dogs" are impressive and love to talk about how "bad" their dogs are.  They give a very bad name to all the responsible APBT dogs and their owners.  As I said, I raised them for more than 30 years and I've never had one bite, or attempt to bite, a person.  Mine weren't even good watch dogs, because they pretty much just loved everyone.  I have had some that were dog aggressive, but I had other breeds that were just as much, or more so.  Lots of dogs simply don't like dogs they don't know.  Regardless of any of that, I would call the local law enforcement agencies any time they were not fully under the control of the owners, and I would talk to all the other neighbors about doing the same.
 
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Dog person here:
If the dogs are already adept at going over a 4’ fence, a 6’ fence may not hold them. People can inadvertently train their dogs to climb/jump higher and higher fences by only raising it 1-2 feet at a time. To truly be secure, their holding area should have a chain link or solid roof, without any gaps for the dogs to squeeze through between the walls and roof. AND a solid bottom or buried walls to keep them from digging out. You may be able to get away with skipping the roof if you raise the walls to 6’ and then add one of those toppers that leans in toward the dogs, so they can’t get good purchase as they clamber over. Coyote rollers are also effective for some dogs, but no guarantees, and again you risk just reaching them to be more skilled climbers/jumpers.

I’ll second the above poster to say that you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking of these dogs as “killer pit bulls.” There are good and bad dogs of every breed. Their current bad reputation is caused by media sensationalism, which causes people who want “intimidating” dogs to get poorly bred pits and not raise them properly, which adds to more media sensationalism, etc. In past decades other breeds suffered from the same stigma - Rottweilers and German Shepherds, for example. Not to downplay your specific situation, because obviously THESE pits are dangerous, but don’t assume that they all are.

I can’t comment much on building a secure goat shelter as my experience is with keeping dogs contained rather than out, except that the same principles would work - chain link or solid fence, secure roof, buried wire. I don’t know about the right spacing for electric wire, but I agree that you would want to make sure that it is a STRONG current. Dogs with serious aggression or predatory instinct will blast right through what is typically used as underground electric fencing in people’s yards.
 
Gail Jardin
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Trace Oswald wrote:This isn't a great situation to be in.  I can tell you this.  I raised "pitbulls" for many, many years.  Remember, above all else, they are still just dogs.  People that haven't been exposed to them seem to impart almost supernatural abilities to these dogs, mostly due to the media. That isn't to say they can't be dangerous.  Any pack of dogs can be dangerous, and a pack of strong athletic dogs can be very dangerous indeed.  My point is just that you don't need to build Ft Knox to keep them out.  I kept my dogs in a kennel with a 6 foot chain link fence and never had one get out.  As far as your own enclosure goes, a 6 foot fence should be all you need, but some dogs can and do dig.  To be extra sure, you could run a single strand of electric wire a foot or so above the ground.  If it is powered by a horse charger and not one of those cheap pet store ones, one zap is all it will take.  

Another thing I would do, and diligently, is call animal control every single time you see one of their dogs outside their area.  If they have attacked animals before, it's hard to believe nothing has been done about it yet, and if they attacked a person, some action would surely have been taken.  A person that owns a "pitbull" that mauls someone is in very deep water.  They will almost surely be sued and the dog put down.  If that didn't happen, I think someone is exaggerating the stories to you.  People that owns dogs like that are often the type that think "killer dogs" are impressive and love to talk about how "bad" their dogs are.  They give a very bad name to all the responsible APBT dogs and their owners.  As I said, I raised them for more than 30 years and I've never had one bite, or attempt to bite, a person.  Mine weren't even good watch dogs, because they pretty much just loved everyone.  I have had some that were dog aggressive, but I had other breeds that were just as much, or more so.  Lots of dogs simply don't like dogs they don't know.  Regardless of any of that, I would call the local law enforcement agencies any time they were not fully under the control of the owners, and I would talk to all the other neighbors about doing the same.



It turns out another neighbor has a pit bull too. I must have walked by it over a dozen times and never noticed because it was always inside or in a pen. Yesterday it was running loose and ran up to my kids and boy did I overreact! I thought it was one of the ones that has supposedly attacked people and livestock etc. Luckily it's owner came running after it and I realized it wasn't one of the bad dogs. Later on I came back and apologized to the owner for yelling at their dog and pulling a gun on it (I don't think the guy even realized I was ready to shoot his dog if it tried biting my kid). The dog came right up to me and let me scratch it's face and pet it and stuff. I'm glad I now know that if I see that particular pit bull running loose it's not a vicious dog and who to bring it back to. Both the dog and the owner have completely different personalities than the pack of pitbulls the neighbors have been warning me about.
I think your comment about the dog that supposedly bit someone must be an exaggeration either that or the owners took their dog from the city and are hiding out at this place so their dog wouldn't get put to sleep and they wouldn't get sued etc. When I first stopped to talk to the guy with all the dogs in the pen, two of them let me pet them. That was before he warned me how vicious they were, I reached forward to the dogs who were sticking their heads through the fence. They seemed to not mind my reaching out to pet them but then the guy started yelling at them and saying how vicious they were. As if he were punishing the dogs for being friendly towards me at first.
My Anatolian mix does not like other dogs. He is very territorial and protective of my kids. He is a small Anatolian only about 110 lbs. I am worried that if the pack of six to eight dogs came at him he would get hurt. I'm sure he could fight off and maul two or even three of them like they were coyotes. But that big of a pack of vicious dogs is another story and I don't want our house pets to get hurt by trying to protect us.
I will talk to some of the neighbors about calling animal control on the dogs whenever they see them loose. I talked to three different neighbors yesterday and I think the general consensus is to triple 's' as soon as any of them are sighted running loose again.  
 
Gail Jardin
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Juniper Zen wrote:Dog person here:
If the dogs are already adept at going over a 4’ fence, a 6’ fence may not hold them. People can inadvertently train their dogs to climb/jump higher and higher fences by only raising it 1-2 feet at a time. To truly be secure, their holding area should have a chain link or solid roof, without any gaps for the dogs to squeeze through between the walls and roof. AND a solid bottom or buried walls to keep them from digging out. You may be able to get away with skipping the roof if you raise the walls to 6’ and then add one of those toppers that leans in toward the dogs, so they can’t get good purchase as they clamber over. Coyote rollers are also effective for some dogs, but no guarantees, and again you risk just reaching them to be more skilled climbers/jumpers.

I’ll second the above poster to say that you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking of these dogs as “killer pit bulls.” There are good and bad dogs of every breed. Their current bad reputation is caused by media sensationalism, which causes people who want “intimidating” dogs to get poorly bred pits and not raise them properly, which adds to more media sensationalism, etc. In past decades other breeds suffered from the same stigma - Rottweilers and German Shepherds, for example. Not to downplay your specific situation, because obviously THESE pits are dangerous, but don’t assume that they all are.

I can’t comment much on building a secure goat shelter as my experience is with keeping dogs contained rather than out, except that the same principles would work - chain link or solid fence, secure roof, buried wire. I don’t know about the right spacing for electric wire, but I agree that you would want to make sure that it is a STRONG current. Dogs with serious aggression or predatory instinct will blast right through what is typically used as underground electric fencing in people’s yards.



Numerous neighbors have said they have seen these dogs running loose right before or after finding their livestock killed, so yeah these dogs are killer pitbulls and need to be contained. These specific dogs should be kept somewhere where there are not different types of animals and where they can be kept locked up in a pen that they can not escape. Now I am feeling like instead of trying to help fix their fence I need to focus on making my goats safer. They are registered kinder goats from show lines and I will sue the owners of any dog that harms them. Like there is no way I could afford to replace these goats with as high quality animals in the future after all I'm investing in them. I'm pretty sure I will try to make a very sturdy indoor area for them, maybe even with a floor of some type so nothing can dig in to get them at night (oh yeah and to protect the ducks too). I'm just not sure about what to do for a fenced in pen as I think woven wire is best for goats that climb but welded wire is best for dogs. I suppose I could make a log fence with the logs going vertically so nothing can climb on them then use wire on the bottom, but I'm worried about the impact of walking on wire on their hoofs? Until something is done about the dogs I would like to have a way to let the goats have some 'freedom' and not have to be in a shed with no light and air during the day if I'm off the property.
 
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I have no suggestions regarding fencing.

Can I suggest you get a game camera? It wouldn't save your goats in case of attack, but it would mean if anything happens you can prove who/what did it. Make sure you keep sale records for the cost of your goats and when you sell kids so you can prove value.

Nothing worse than a pack of dogs - we had two of our own who joined in with 3 guest dogs to try and kill our cat. They had never participated in chasing the cat before or since.

I know in some places in Canada right now there is an issue with the SPCA no longer dealing with animal complaints, and no one to turn to.

I loath pitbulls. Had no opinion before I got a dog and started going to dog parks. Illegal here in Ontario, and the ones I meet are dog aggressive  and should NOT be allowed to run loose on the street/brought to a dog park. (Sadly, that's the two places I have met them, despite "no pitbull" signs). I guess it selects for idiots for owners when you have to break the law to own one, and when the only place I meet them is where they shouldn't be!
 
Trace Oswald
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Catie George wrote:
I loath pitbulls. Had no opinion before I got a dog and started going to dog parks. Illegal here in Ontario, and the ones I meet are dog aggressive  and should NOT be allowed to run loose on the street/brought to a dog park. (Sadly, that's the two places I have met them, despite "no pitbull" signs). I guess it selects for idiots for owners when you have to break the law to own one, and when the only place I meet them is where they shouldn't be!



No dog should be allowed to run loose in the streets.  Ever.  And no dog that is aggressive should be brought to a dog park.  Ever.  Blaming an entire breed of dog for the actions of some poor dog owners isn't logical in my mind.
 
Trace Oswald
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Gail Jardin wrote:
It turns out another neighbor has a pit bull too. I must have walked by it over a dozen times and never noticed because it was always inside or in a pen. Yesterday it was running loose and ran up to my kids and boy did I overreact! I thought it was one of the ones that has supposedly attacked people and livestock etc. Luckily it's owner came running after it and I realized it wasn't one of the bad dogs. Later on I came back and apologized to the owner for yelling at their dog and pulling a gun on it (I don't think the guy even realized I was ready to shoot his dog if it tried biting my kid). The dog came right up to me and let me scratch it's face and pet it and stuff. I'm glad I now know that if I see that particular pit bull running loose it's not a vicious dog and who to bring it back to. Both the dog and the owner have completely different personalities than the pack of pitbulls the neighbors have been warning me about.



I think your reaction was pretty normal for someone that was already warned about vicious dogs in the area.  I'm glad you got to meet the other type of pitbull and owner.  In my experience, the good ones outnumber the bad by a million to one.  
 
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Sorry Gail- off topic....

Trace- I used to agree with you, I am a dog lover, and usually blame the owners not the dogs, and think no dog should be let to run loose, and many dogs are inappropriate for dog parks. I had never met one, and figured it was just the "aggressive, breed, scary" stuff I see with German shepherds and many other breeds I like.

Pitbulls are rare here, and far from the most common breed I meet, but experience has led to me being wary of every pitbull and mix as the majority of bad experiences I have had is with pitbulls. At this point, I suspect it's a bad breeding problem as well as a bad owner problem.

I have met a dozen or so in less than 2 years, and every single one has been dog aggressive, and many have made me fear for myself as well as my dog when I am walking or at the park. Saddest for me was a 1 year old who I quite liked that overnight started to try and chase down my dog (and others) at the park and was subsequently banned. Scariest was either the off leash pitbull that ran up to us on a walk that the owner was afraid of, or when a group of tourists brought three purebred staffies to the park who ran at me and snarled at me until called off, (i was there first) ran and tried to pin my dog multiple times, and I had to demand the owners take their dogs and leave. They apparently came back later and got in a fight with another dog.

I think the owners are definitely to blame , but somehow I rarely have the same issues with the other "dangerous" and more common breeds and their crosses- shepherds, dobermans, rottweilers, malinois, akitas, cane corsos, huskies, etc.  I like quite a few of those breeds. I meet bad dogs and some bad owners in these breeds, but nowhere near 100%.  And most of the owners of "aggressive" members of those breeds I meet have them very well trained, kept on a close leash in public, not let loose to run down the street or brought to dog parks, and are well aware that their dog is a risk if not well managed.

I am sure there are decent pitbulls and owners- you probably are one.  I just have yet to meet one on the streets or at the park here.
 
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Pitbulls are quite common near my dad's, I've probably met over 5 dozen. the bad ones I can count on one hand. you know what have been worse? German shepards and huskies. I think there must be a bad breeder or two because almost 50% of those two breeds have been aggressive, with the owners just shrugging it off. I'm to the point now where I'm wary of any dog running up to me that I don't know. My dad's dog was attacked by a golden retriever, I've been attacked by chihuahuas. Owner was literally laughing until I kicked one to try and get it to stop, only then did they try and contain the dogs. They were bleeding by the end because the dogs would bite them as well as me.

I've heard of pitbulls changing overnight, but that has also happened to police dogs and other kinds of dogs. bottom line is I don't blame any breed more than any other cause it really comes down to how they are raised. I get that everyone has their own experiences, but I don't see how hatred of one breed can be any easier to defend than being racist.
 
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Regarding fencing- OP asked if welder wire will work.  NO, it will not.  Welded wire will fall to pieces very quickly when worked and abused by a contained animal!  Go with either horse fencing (the woven wite heavy gauge) or chainlink.   I have picked up a collection of chainlink panels over the years, they're super useful.  But it's worth noting that one was used to kennel dogs in, and there are sections of the chainlink that are mangled.  If a large dog is bored out of its mind and acting out as a result, it will do anything to destroy what's containing it.  The mangled chainlink isn't so bad that the dog could've gotten out, but I find it really impressive on the dog's part to have managed that much damage.

You can try a 6' woven wire or chainlink fence, and simple run fencing over the top of the run.  For a roof fencing material, welded wire 'might' work, as the dogs won't really be able to abuse the fencing that's over their head.  Just be sure that any roof fencing is REALLY well secured to and tied into whatever your wall material is.

To keep dogs from digging under, a lot of people pour a concrete perimeter.  It's the path of least resistance, compared to trenching the perimeter and burying a fence 1-2' deep.  Then the soil is already loose and easy for the dogs to dig up!  Another option might be to take woven wire (the thick horse stuff) and lay on the ground around the perimeter, partially outside, mostly inside.  The dogs can't dige through it, it resists abuse very well without falling apart, and they would have to dig for several feet to dig all the way underneath it/around it.  Hope that makes sense.  That's what I use for rabbits, except plain chicken wire suffices to contain them

I second trail cams.  Don't think that even if you have a just reason to shoot their dogs that you won't get in trouble.  Speaking from experience of someone I know- they were in the unfortunate position of losing MORE livestock to the same dogs, who were serial killing their sheep.  So they finally shot the dogs, after enough warnings and calls to the police.  They reported the incident and found themselves defending themselves in court!  The court system was trying to find fault in BOTH parties to increase revenue.  Don't trust the injustice system to solve your problems

A lot of people know the sayin; Shoot, shovel, and shut tup.   I personally would HATE to have to shoot a dog.  I cried last time I shot a coyote.  But I would if I had to.  If a dog were mauling my goats or pigs, and especially if it's a dog whose owner I'd already had words with before, I'd shoot it.   And it would suck.  Immensely.  Ultimately it's not the dog's fault, it's the handler's.  

As per fencing your own goaters in, you can't go wrong including electric.  And if an electric and hard wire combo don't keep a dog out, high platforms for your goats to jump onto may just save their lives.  We've had 2 dog incidents with our goats, and the first time the goats all holed up on their giant wooden cable spools.  The dogs aren't inclined to jump up after them because a smart goat now has the advantage of bashing them in the face when the dog pops its head up.  So the dogs tend to stay low and bark.  The second time was one of our free-rangin' goats on the mountainside.  We have these huge boulders, a big rocky outcrop.  This dog showed up ready to eat our minis, and they nimbly sprung from one boulder to another, running that dog in circles and staying just out of reach.

We recently built our barn and I designed the goat's section with safety in mind.  The interior 8' space is split in 2; the lower 4' for the pigs, and the upper 4' for the goats.  Two-tiered.  So inside the barn the goats are living up above the pigs on a deck with railing to keep them contained.  When the goats go outside, because the barn is on a slope, they walk out onto a deck that's 4' off the ground.  They have to jump up onto this deck to get into the barn.  So if a predator got in there, it would have to jump up there with them and risk playing "king of the hill" with a very upset goat.  And if a predator is on the outer deck and wanting in, it has to enter through a small opening and be face-to-face with very upset goats who may as well just bash it in the snout.  

Let the goaters have vertical space to get away in, that's their best defense.  And definitely employ electric to ward off troublesome doggos.  We are using a 6 joule charger, with a pop of 10,000 volts.  It hurts, I promise.  Haha.  It can't do damage, but it hurts in the moment and it's psychologically traumatic getting hit by it (just ask my rebellious hands that refuse to touch the wire even when I know it's turned off).  We had a livestock mauler visit us with company once, he tried to dart through the fence, got a full blast pop right next to the charger, crapped himself and came screaming back to its owner, horrified.  That dog refused to stray far from the house after that, let alone go anywhere near the livestock and the hotwire!  Woohoo!
 
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