Offer to replace border collie is politely refused
by Cliff Thompson | Vail Daily | August 16, 2001
It was an inspired idea to correct a situation that was just stupidly wrong.
It involved an eclectic mix: a pound pup named Andy, unleashed dogs, the kindness of a church group, weed-eating goats, a hit-and-run driver and a $2,500 goat-herding dog named Scoot.
Three weeks ago dogs in East Vail spooked a herd of 700 Kashmir goats used to graze the area free of noxious weeds. The panicking goats ran towards Vail’s south Frontage Road, and their herd dog ran onto the road to circle them up and bring them back to the safety of the hillside.
An unidentified driver, a woman, struck and killed Scoot and left without stopping.
For the owner of the killed dog, Lani Lamming of Alpine, Wyo., it was a traumatic loss of Scoot, a prized 6-year-old, highly trained border collie.
“It was stupidity,” said Vail resident Debbie Tennant, who lost a dog on the same road under similar circumstances.
“How thoughtless the person was,” she said. “They didn’t even stop. It’s a bad impression for Vail.”
But Tennant didn’t stop there. With some other women at the Presbyterian Parish in .Minturn, she decided to right what they felt was perpetuation of wrongs inflicted on the owner of the goat herd. They decided to replace the dog with a similar dog, named Andy, from the animal shelter run by the Eagle County Humane Society. They even paid the $75 adoption fee. Wednesday at noon she arranged to drop Andy off at the goat herding camp between Vail and East Vail.
But the best of intentions collided with reality, however. The owner of the goats didn’t need an untrained dog in an environment where it would be a liability. Lamming was worried about losing yet another dog, and politely refused the offer, said Dana Ferguson, who oversees the goat grazing operation in Vail operation for Ewe4ic Ecological Services.
“We needed a trained dog,” said Ferguson of Andy. “We’d have to keep him on a leash or in a cage until we had him trained,” she said. “We can’t have a dog here that doesn’t know commands.”
In the end it was another example of it being the thought that counts.
Andy is now back in the animal shelter awaiting a new home.
He was relinquished to the shelter two and a half weeks ago by an elderly woman who no longer could care, adequately for him, said Tennant. Andy, also border collie, is less than a year old.
“He’s a sweetheart,” said Tennant, who is a volunteer dog walker for the Humane Society.
Ferguson said the biggest problem for the goats is not bears or mountain lions -it’s pet dogs. In a Denver area goat grazing operation, Ferguson said a pet Malamute killed 19 goats, costing as much as $500 each.
Unlike the owners of the Vail dogs that chased the goats and caused the loss of the herd dog, the owner of the Malamute was taken to court.
The goats will be leaving Vail Sunday, heading to Cheyenne, Wyo.
Dogs wreak havoc with weed-eating goat herd
Vail’s new weed control program, which began Friday with the arrival of a herd of 500 Kashmir goats, has gotten off to a tragic start, prompting town officials to ask for help in keeping unattended dogs away from the goats. Three dog attacks have occurred since Friday, including an incident Sunday that ultimately caused the death of one of the program’s goat herding dogs.
The dog was hit by a vehicle on the Frontage Road as it tried to move the dispersed goats to safety, officials said. Another dog attack was reported Sunday night, which scattered the herd. Efforts were under way Monday afternoon to find and contain the frightened goats.
Town Streets and Maintenance Manager Larry Pardee said crews will be going door-to-door within the affected neighborhoods to deliver information about the weed control program and to ask residents for their cooperation in keeping dogs leashed and away from the herd.
The goats were scheduled to work their way from the East Vail rock fall ditch near the East Vail Interchange west to Dowd Junction over a 10-day period.
Pardee said the owner of the goat-herding dog who was killed is devastated by the loss.
-Daily Staff Report