HOKE COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) – Hoke County landowners say packs of dogs have killed more than two dozen animals in recent months, and they believe the dogs were once pets.
Pat Belskie said that a neighbor called her Thursday morning after discovering Belskie’s goat crop being attacked by three dogs.
“You need to get out here. It’s a slaughter,” Belskie said her neighbor told her. She ran outside and saw the carnage.
The three dogs, which she describes as a black lab/shepherd mix and two smaller brown dogs, ran off her property. Belskie’s husband tried to shoot the dogs, but couldn’t catch them.
“I saw my goats dotted all across the field lying there. Some of them were bleeding horribly. Some were making groaning noises and somewhere stiff,” Belskie said.
Belskie immediately called several neighbors who have medical training, including Robin Berry and Michele Westmoreland, to try to save some of the injured animals.
“I’ve been in combat. I’ve seen some horrible stuff as a healthcare provider. I felt like I was in a combat zone,” Berry said.
Berry, Westmoreland, and others stayed for several hours tending to the animals. Only one goat survived.
Belskie’s 500-pound llama and 14 of the specially bred goats were killed by the dogs, wiping out her crop.
Then, Friday morning, Belskie said the pack returned to attack her neighbor’s goats.
“They were not strays particularly because they weren’t hungry, they weren’t skinny. They looked good,” Belskie said. “They were just doing this for sport. And, the fact they were able to get by with it, they came back last night at 4 a.m. and got the two goats next door. We suspect they will be back tonight.”
This isn’t the first time livestock in Belskie’s neighborhood were killed by a pack of dogs.
Berry and Westmoreland said that last August, a different pack of dogs killed more than a dozen of their animals. Hoke County Animal Control was never able to find the dogs responsible.
The women are adamant the dogs are not coyotes, but were or are someone’s pets.
“We have a lot of people from Fort Bragg that, when they get deployed, they don’t know what to do with them,” Belskie said. “Everybody thinks, ‘Oh, I’ll just leave them at the farm here.”
Belskie and her neighbors want pet owners to know there are shelters, clinics, and other options to send pets they can no longer care for.
The women said they are not only worried about their livestock, and the potential impact to area horse farms, but also their own safety.
“We have small kids, like my granddaughter,” Westmoreland said. “If they are going to attack a horse somewhere, then who knows what they are going to do”
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said he is aware of the situation and the county commissioners are looking into it.
Belskie says Hoke County Animal Control set several traps for the dogs and said they would have officers in the area overnight Friday.