Dogs attack, kill livestock in Reno County

By: Phil White Email
By: Phil White Email

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SYLVIA, Kan. -- A Reno County alpaca rancher is worried a dog that killed 10 percent of his herd could hurt more livestock or a person.

Thursday, two dogs killed 11 alpacas Michael Murphy kept in a pasture just outside Sylvia, which is about 30 miles southwest of Hutchinson. With one of the dogs still on the loose, Murphy said he fears for his neighbors' safety.

"They (the dogs) belong to somebody," he said. "They're just not being contained."

Murphy is not sure where the dogs that tore into his alpaca herd and a llama came from, but he said people in and near Sylvia have seen them around before.

Murphy said the dogs killed most of the alpacas before anyone noticed. The animals that had not already died had to be put down. A llama also kept in the pasture was severely injured, but survived.

"The dogs were just killing for sport," Murphy said. "The throats and the faces were all torn up and then back in the back end, where there was a dog in the back and a dog in the front. Once, I guess, the animal was dead, they went to the next one."

Murphy said the alpacas that were killed were worth about $1,000 each. The herd was not insured because, he said, the cost of insurance is cost-prohibitive."

Alpacas are not able to do much to defend themselves.

"They're just sweet animals," Murphy's wife, Janis, said. "They're not used to any aggression."

That is what bothers her most about what happened.

"It lasted over a period of time and knowing that they're terrified and they're fighting for their lives and they don't know which way to go or what to do," she said.

Michael Murphy was able to shoot one of the dogs, but the other got away. That leaves both Murphys worried about what could happen if that dog shows up again.

"You never know what it might do to somebody's pet or child or something like that, so it's a concern," Michael said.

He added, people need to take better care of their pets.

"If you love your dog, take care of it, because it's kind of like kids." he said. "Two or three kids on their own are fine, but two or three kids together sometimes get in some mischief and dogs are pretty much the same way."

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