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Published May 07 2013

Owner cited after dogs kill sheep in NDSU barn

FARGO – North Dakota State University plans to seek compensation from the owner of two dogs that attacked a flock of sheep inside an NDSU research barn, killing seven sheep and injuring five others that had to be euthanized.

Campus police Lt. Greg Stone said employees discovered the dogs when they showed up for work around 8 a.m. Tuesday at the barn in the 3200 block of 19th Avenue North, northwest of the main NDSU campus.

“They’d probably been in there for a while, because they’d done a lot of carnage,” he said of the dogs, both huskies.

Of the dozen sheep that were killed or euthanized, four were lambs born this year, said Greg Lardy, head of NDSU’s Department of Animal Sciences. Six sheep that survived the attack were being treated for their injuries, he said.

The dogs were no longer attacking the sheep when police arrived, Stone said.

“They were just lying around, lounging, and they were good. They were good around people,” he said.

The Fargo Police Department impounded the dogs and later released them back to their owner, who lives in the Golden Ridge neighborhood south of the barn between Seventh and 12th avenues north, Stone said.

The owner, whose name wasn’t released, was cited with two tickets for dog running at large, a noncriminal infraction punishable by up to a $500 fine, Stone said.

“The owner was contrite,” he said. “He showed me where he keeps the dogs, and he said that a visitor at his home had accidentally let the dogs out.”

Lardy said the dogs attacked the sheep sometime between 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday morning.

The three barns at the site contained about 500 sheep.

The site is fenced, and Lardy said it’s unclear how the dogs got inside the barn.

University officials were still calculating the financial loss, but Lardy said it will likely be in the thousands of dollars. He said the university intends to seek compensation from the dogs’ owner through a civil case.

The NDSU staff and students who work at the barn “care very passionately about the animals that they take care of, and an incident like this is hard on them,” Lardy said.

“They take it personally because they obviously develop a human-animal bond with those animals, so they feel very bad,” he said.

Stone said the owner promised him that either he or his wife would be present when letting the dogs out and that the dogs would be leashed when outside. The dogs’ vaccinations were current, he said.

The owner was scheduled to appear on the citations this afternoon in Fargo Municipal Court, Stone said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528