Effective implementation of livestock protection measures reduce the human-wildlife conflicts. Especially between livestock owners and large carnivores like the wolf. Many EU Member States have come to the same conclusion, and are starting to allocate more funds to support this. Even the European Commission has paved the way for full compensation of damages and indirect costs if owners implement proper livestock protection. One of the options to protection livestock effectively is with suitable livestock guarding dogs. In Switzerland, people have been using these working dogs for many years now. More countries initiate pilots to test how they can support usage of livestock guarding dogs. But not everybody is happy with these livestock guarding dogs.
Please also read: Successful Dutch pilot with Livestock Guarding Dogs
Two dogs poisoned in one month
European Wilderness Society was informed on the following matter by Canine Efficiency, a Dutch company that specialises in raising livestock guarding dogs. Together, we believe that it is important to raise awareness about this topic, and provide assistance to whoever experiences similar situations.
Ray, the owner of multiple livestock guarding dogs, discovered about a month ago that one of his dogs acted different. The dog did not eat, felt weak and had high fever. Tests of the vet did not yield an indication of an illness. The internist could not find a cause either, leaving poisoning as one of the remaining options. Measures in the kidneys raised the alarm, and the dog underwent an intensive treatment with prednisone and holistic detoxification. Fortunately the dog slowly started to recover again. Last week, the second dog started to display similar symptoms of poisoning.
Update 19-05-2020: One of the livestock guarding dogs did not survive the poisoning.
Livestock protection under pressure
Testing dogs on toxic substances is difficult, as tests normally focus on a specific poison. If it is unknown what poison is used, testing takes valuable time that is necessary for treatment. Not to mention the lasting damages to the dog’s kidneys, or the financial burden that the owners carry.
Also in other countries, livestock owners are under pressure. While they like to implement effective measures to protect their livestock, others prevent that. Electric fences have been torn down, or cut into pieces. Some livestock owners have even been personally attacked and threatened by others.
The negative attitude against livestock protection comes from the believe that if you are ‘pro’ livestock protection, you must be ‘pro’ wolf. This still causes heated discussions and conflict in many rural regions of Europe. Fortunately the majority of livestock owners realises that livestock protection is a good way forward. International projects such as LIFEstockProtect, which is currently under evaluation, can help to increase acceptance for livestock protection and sustainable coexistence with the wolf.
Have you, or somebody you know, experienced similar challenges when implementing livestock protection? Let us know in the comments below!