We got this letter. We had to publish it. Don’t you think?
We moved to the American Redoubt, prompted by Gods providence and the knowledge we learned from your organization. Our ranch and homestead is rural, and we raise cattle/sheep/hogs/etc, but our most important livestock are our livestock guardian dogs.
We are surrounded on all sides by national forest and you can imagine what this means in regards to predators. Our dogs are the most integral and loved part of the ranch and what we do. They are well behaved, not aggressive and patrol our property how it comes naturally to them.
Recently we’ve ran into some issues with our neighbors (closest one living a mile away). On what was once a prolific ranching road, we are now the only ranchers/homesteaders on the road, despite the rural and out of city limits location. Our dogs have on occasion run alongside the road and across the road, as there is a coyote den on both sides of our driveway. These are on national forest land. This particular neighbor(s) has called the sheriff multiple times, even after often provoking the dogs by honking so that they’ll come to the road.
The sheriff has visited us several times and wrote us a citation for ‘dogs at large’. The folks complaining are willing to go to court apparently, however we have yet to navigate this process any further than the citation so that is yet to be seen. Historically livestock guardian dogs are classified as livestock, not pets. In an adjacent county, they acknowledge working dogs in their county ordinance. Our county has no classification or code for working dogs. We are on open range forestland and our dogs patrol our property through the natural geography and game trails.
Asking for Guidance
This is all to say, we could use some insight/guidance/etc on ways we could advocate for our dogs as predator control/working/livestock animals rather than pets that are ‘at large’. We’ve researched the law extensively and there are no specific ordinances in our state or our county, for or against working dogs that we know of, it’s a very gray area. At this point we are supposed go to court to contest the citation. The sheriffs deputy that came last night threatened that the courts can order the dogs put down for running at large (on our driveway, by the [county] road). But nowhere in the state code or statues does it say this, only that a fine will be assessed.
What is your opinion on the matter?