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Turning horses out at night & aggressive dogs

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  • Turning horses out at night & aggressive dogs

    With summer and ridiculous temps fast approaching, I'm debating my "summer turnout schedule". I'd like to turn my boys out at night; currently, they're stalled at night.

    However, I have a neighbor with 3 very aggressive blue heelers (both towards humans, other dogs, and other animals) that live outside/loose. The neighbor has horses herself, however they're entirely contained (and never leave, that I've seen) a field with no-climb fencing that the dogs cannot get through (even the gates are no-climb fencing). When I have had interaction with the neighbor, dogs, and horses (like when her horses got loose on my property), they are VERY careful to not let the dogs near the horses and definitely not in their pasture.

    At night, I hear them barking all the time, which does not occur during the day. I have caught them near my barn twice in the last few months in the early morning, before dawn, when I go out to feed.

    I have fears of them harassing my horses at night, as my fencing is only 3-board Ramm fence that the dogs can easily slip under. And given that I have caught them on my property before, I know they can and will come over. My two horses are old and "broken", and could not fight off a pack if trouble started. I have no idea if trouble would start, but I definitely don't want to find out the hard way.

    Any suggestions as to how I should handle this situation? Just leave the horses in at night? Risk letting them out all night long? I feel better leaving the horses out during the day, because the owner of the dogs is home all day and I have two sets of neighbors that are also home all day and keep careful eye on the area. Or am I being silly and I shouldn't even be concerned leaving them out at night?

  • #2
    Sounds like a call to the Sherriff or Animal Control is in order, for the noise issue at night to start, for unleashed dogs on your property for another (get video, hard to get into he said/she said that way), and see if that gets the dogs out of sight.

    But yes, I WOULD be concerned if the owners of the dogs won't even let them near their own horses
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      Nice meeting with the owners of the dogs, first. Follow-up by AC, if they fail to keep them contained. Perhaps you can also consider adding a lower hot wire beneath the Ramm fence strand to discourage any stray dog.
      “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

      St. Padre Pio


      • #4
        Hot wire is useless, utterly useless, at keeping herding dogs from slipping under a fence. Just an FYI.

        I would talk to the neighbors. Tell them factually what you just wrote here. And see what they say.


        • #5
          A pitbull just moved in down the street. Like a week ago. I saw it yesterday and almost (shoulda) hit it in the road. I laid on the horn, and slowed. That is when I figured out it was a pit bull whose loud bark I heard. At night. A few nights ago. I thought it was a different dog, AND I got the impression it was *in* my pasture. If it WAS in the pasture, the horses would be running I am very sure. Didn't hear them running. The dog may have been on the outside of our fence.

          The dog is unleashed, no yard, free to roam - I know the property. And you can see from every angle.

          We have mesh fencing, and it is to the ground - we put it that way just for that purpose of dogs getting in our fence. I do have a hot wire on top. Usually it is not on, but it is NOW. If the dog is in my fence, it will have difficulty finding where it came in. And if I see it, it WILL be shot dead. My property, and it is completely legal for me to do so. I have done all I can to keep unwanted dogs out and off my property. There is not one square inch which is not covered by mesh. It is a graduated mesh, small at the bottom to large at the top. Yes, they can jump, but they will be zapped. Maybe. Hopefully. If a dog gets in the pasture, it broke two barriers to get in. This pit I am fairly sure has NEVER been around livestock, so it may want to go have some fun.

          Interestingly, the hot wire is only there to keep those OUT. Not my horses in, or off the fence.


          Good fences, make good neighbors.

          Time for you to put some mesh up.


          • Original Poster

            I have already spoken to the neighbors about keeping their dogs off my property because I didn't want them coming over to harass my dogs through my fenced in backyard, as mine are very territorial (but also completely fenced in).

            I'm trying to be neighborly, and other neighbors have mentioned that they have said similar things to dog-owning neighbors about keeping dogs on their property. Other neighbors (no one knows who) have called AC on her at least twice in the past year/year and a half, before I moved into my place.

            Plus, during the daylight, when the owner is awake, she does have control of the dogs and they listen to her. It's only when everyone is asleep that they come out. I'll try to get video, but they're pretty wiley. When they've seen me coming, they book it home. Plus they're dark, so it'll be hard to identify them on a video in the dark.

            I'm in a rural neighborhood... would calling AC/cops on "barking dogs" have the same effect as it would if I was in the 'burbs?? I didn't think so, which was why I didn't pursue that...

            Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
            Time for you to put some mesh up.
            Yeah, that's not a financial option right now. I'd have to mesh in over 1000' of fencing. Plus one of my horses just sheared off his hoof on mesh wire fencing at a boarding facility, costing me thousands in vet & farrier bills and putting him on strict stall rest for 4 months now, likely gonna be 7-8 months total. I vowed to never have wire fencing to fence in my horses ever again. So horses would stay in stalls before I'd do that.


            • #7
              Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
              I'm in a rural neighborhood... would calling AC/cops on "barking dogs" have the same effect as it would if I was in the 'burbs?? I didn't think so, which was why I didn't pursue that...
              In my county, the noise ordinance still applies in rural areas.
              "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

              Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


              • #8
                I have been in your shoes and my solution was to lock up the horses at night. I know the bugs are better if they're out at night, but it wasn't worth the risk to me. Fly sheets and plant some good shade trees? I'm sorry.
                “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                St. Padre Pio


                • #9
                  I would also say turn out during the day. Not ideal i know but I would do safety over bugs personally.

                  Sucks as its your property and their dogs but hey, thats life.
                  I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                  • #10
                    You could always get a donkey! Those dogs would come into your pasture one time and one time only, and likely wouldn't make it out.
                    "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                    Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by OTTBcooper View Post
                      You could always get a donkey! Those dogs would come into your pasture one time and one time only, and likely wouldn't make it out.
                      LOL; see the thread I'm about to start in off course regarding donkeys... I'm dying for a mini-donk or regular donkey but hubby doesn't think we can afford one...


                      • #12
                        See if you can borrow a donkey for a while.

                        rmh-I know what you mean. When someone first moves out here (a suburb that used to be farmland, but no longer is) you start seeing roaming dogs. The dogs don't know about traffic, or keeping on their owners property, because they've been city dogs til now. Next thing you know the dog either gets run over, or disappears into a fenced yard, because someone probably mentioned to them that the next time little Fluffy is in the road and the volunteer firemen get a call, that their dog isn't priority one for emergencies. Or someone's kid gets knocked down by the dog playing too rough, and the Sheriff's deputy that is animal control here drops in and explains trespassing, and other charges, and doggy disappears. I dread seeing the new neighbor's dogs too, because I know that either the owner will get a clue, or the dog will end up dead or dying in the ditch.

                        I would keep the horses in at night, because it's obvious the neighbor doesn't care, and won't keep them up.
                        Last edited by JanM; Feb. 5, 2013, 08:52 AM.
                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                        • #13


                          • #14
                            Electric fence will most certainly stop a dog if you know how tall the dog is.

                            For most dogs, a fence 16 to 18" above the ground will do the job.

                            If you have a board at that height, you may have to put one wire above and one below the board.

                            Not expensive and can be done in a few hours.

                            I would not have a confrontational or threatening meeting with the neighbor as that will brand you as the person that got rid of the dogs, but if the wire is not an option I would have a nice pleasant visit with the neighbor in which I would mention that I must turn my horses out at night and that I have seen the dogs in my pasture; that it would sure be nice if they would shut the dogs up at night.

                            Say no more.

                            Then if they show up attacking the horses, shoot them.

                            Before you shoot, be careful to check your local laws. Many state, mine included, allow a land owner to shoot to protect his livestock.

                            Now that said, I own a lot of dogs, hounds. Every dog that crosses your pasture is not a danger to the livestock so you need to be very sure that you know what you are talking about and unfortunately the only way to know is to see the dogs actually attacking your horses.

                            I would start by turning the horses out during the day as you are presently doing, but leaving them out until bedtime. If you don't work for someone else, stay up until midnight or so. You can do that when not working the next day, if you do work.

                            Than make your decision based on the dogs behavior.

                            If necessary, remember the 3 s's.

                            All of that said, no one should leave their dogs out all night. The only dogs that should be out at night are hounds that hunt at night; coon hounds, night foxhounds, etc.

                            Many people do not realize that their nice little pet who is so sweet many times becomes a monster at night.

                            A neighbor's aggressive dog comes trotting by and sweet pet falls in behind him, a few more join in and soon you have a bloodthirsty pack.

                            But no one should shoot a dog who is not really causing trouble. That is not acceptable.


                            • #15
                              A donkey will help, but they are also escape artists. A lower strand might be needed for a mini. My large donkey had absolutely zero respect for the electric tape type fence I had.
                              “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                              St. Padre Pio


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                Electric fence will most certainly stop a dog if you know how tall the dog is.
                                Until the prey drive overrides the knowledge there's a shock coming.

                                All of that said, no one should leave their dogs out all night.
                                Well of course, but that doesn't mean people actually care
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                • #17
                                  The OP does not say where they are. Real knowledge of local and State laws is critical in planning an effective "anti-dog" strategy.

                                  In TN there is no state "leash law" but there is a statute that requires owners to have their dogs "under control." If they don't and the dog causes damage the owner is responsible. There are special provisions for "coursing dogs." The law also permits an owner of livestock to kill a dog harassing his stock. But if he just shoots a "trespassing" dog he's committed a theft and/or vandalism and is liable to the dog's owner.

                                  One approach is to see if the OP can get a "live trap" from AC and set it out for a few nights. If they catch an offending dog then they turn it over to AC, not the owner. The owner can get it back from AC but usually there will be fees involved (around $75-$150, depending). That usually gets an owner's attention and often solves the problem. It also greatly reduces the risk of a "family feud" breaking out; those often end with tragic consequences.

                                  The OP should consider fencing changes. A good fence does two jobs: it keeps something in and everything else out. Electric wire is a pretty good dog deterrent. Works with cats, too; or so I'm told.

                                  I wish the OP good luck in their project.

                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                                    I have already spoken to the neighbors about keeping their dogs off my property .... I vowed to never have wire fencing to fence in my horses ever again. So horses would stay in stalls before I'd do that.
                                    We have 3 board fencing on the inside and wire fencing on the outside (same posts) - so that will keep dogs out (wire) and horses in (boards). Also - top your fence with hot wire - my neighbors pit jumped my 4 ft fence and has dug underneath it - so a bullet is my next step.

                                    Suggest for now turn horses out during the day and lock in barn at night. I do it this way and my horses are in Florida.
                                    Now in Kentucky


                                    • #19
                                      Given the facts as I understand them:
                                      - You know the dogs to be aggressive to horses
                                      - Other neighbors have called AC at least twice on this dog owner but dogs continue to run loose
                                      - You have asked the neighbor to keep her dogs off your property but dogs continue to run loose
                                      - Your horses are elderly and would not be able to defend themselves from the loose dogs
                                      No, I wouldn't turn the horses out at night.

                                      Personally, I wouldn't be comfortable leaving my horses alone during the day with this situation going on, but that wasn't your question.
                                      I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by JB View Post
                                        Until the prey drive overrides the knowledge there's a shock coming.

                                        Well of course, but that doesn't mean people actually care
                                        Exactly. And Mr Super Furry Border Collie will zoom through that zap before he even knows he was zapped. If a couple of strands of hot wire kept dogs in-why would folks buy fancy chain link kennels?

                                        Look, I would suggest not being reliant on hot wire. The repercussions of being wrong about its effectiveness are too great.