Courtesy of Devon Pollack
Courtesy of Devon Pollack
Dogs often are called man’s best friend and seen as an integral part of some families. But others see them as nuisances and a problem around livestock.
Local resident Devon Pollack learned that the hard way when her dog, Bula, was shot after he attacked and killed at least two chickens on a man’s property during the Thanksgiving weekend.
Pollack left Bula in a friend’s care when she went to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with her family. She used to take Bula with her to Michigan when she lived on the Front Range, but she has stayed in Durango the last two years because she didn’t want to leave Bula, whom she called family, at home or pay the hundreds of dollars it would cost to fly him.
“This was the first time I went back to Michigan without my dog,” Pollack said. “I wish I would have paid the extra fees to take him home with me.”
There isn’t a fence around the yard of the friend’s home, so Pollack bought a cable leash to tie to the house.
The day before Thanksgiving, Bula was let out of the house without the leash and ran after something, Pollack said. The friend called after him and heard a gunshot a few minutes later but didn’t associate the two.
It wasn’t until later in the day that the friend discovered Bula had been shot and killed in the yard of Bruce Bell, a neighbor who lives north of the friend’s property on East Animas Road (County Road 250).
Bula was chasing Bell’s chickens and killed at least two of them before Bell’s friend shot the dog.
“I was so devastated, I wasn’t able to eat the next day,” Pollack said. “He was my family to me.”
Bell said the shooting was justified.
“He killed a bunch of chickens, and another neighbor of mine came by and shot the dog, and that’s just fine by me because if he hadn’t, he (Bula) would have killed all the chickens,” Bell said. “When dogs run loose, they cause problems and their owners don’t have a clue what their dogs are doing. It’s unfortunate, I hate to see anybody lose their dog.”
Bell said this isn’t the first time a dog has killed his chickens, and dog owners never offer to pay for the chickens or property destroyed by the animals.
“This is one of those sad cases where dogs are allowed to run and go on other people’s property,” said Jon Patla, animal control director for La Plata County and the city of Durango. “It’s unfortunate, but it happens.”
Patla said this is about the second time a dog has been shot in the last six months.
Landowners are encouraged to call Animal Control before taking action against a dog, but Patla said few do.
While Pollack said she is devastated about the loss of Bula, a Great Dane-Laborador mix she adopted from a shelter 7½ years ago, Bell’s friend was within the law. It’s legal under Colorado law for landowners to shoot dogs when they are harassing livestock.
But Pollack is trying to change that.
“Ultimately, I would like to have that law appealed and maybe establish a law that would give dog and dog owners certain rights,” she said. “(The law) is really broad and inconsistent with Samaritan values toward our pets and other laws against animal cruelty.”