Dogs Protect Livestock in Montana Ag Network

Dogs have long been used to help protect livestock. They are able to defend them against predators and maintain the herd, keeping it in specific locations. This is especially true in Montana where many ranchers use dogs to help them with cows, sheep, and other animals.  Recently, an article featured on KPAX.com detailed the story of Steve Skelton, a rancher who lives near Bynum. He has been using dogs and a means of protecting his sheep.

A little while ago, a grizzly bear entered Skelton’s ranch and killed one of his sheep. Skelton commented saying, “The bear had partially gotten into the ewe and when the dogs got there, it was over with. They hazed him on–which is impressive for any kind of animal to move a full-size grizzly off their meal…If we didn’t have these dogs, we couldn’t be here with sheep. The predator load here is way too high with coyotes, wolves, and grizzly bears, and the dogs are working out wonderful.” Skelton clarified that his dogs are meant to kill or cause significant harm to the predatory animals. Instead, they are expected to simply move them away from his livestock.

Mike Madel of the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks told KPAX that the combination of guard dogs and electric fences can be a beneficial means of protecting livestock. Additionally, with the past long winter, many ranchers are slow to get their defenses up and working.

Here at The Advocates Law Firm, we write many articles about dogs. These articles are not the most positive because they are typically detailing the problems of a dog biting someone. We are glad to be writing good things about man’s best friend finally. We love dogs. Many of our staff here at our firm have dogs. The purpose of this article is to remind people to avoid certain situations where a dog might be more prone to bite. For example, never trespass on another person’s property.

Let’s imagine the following scenario. Imagine you are walking on someone else’s property and you approach a dog as it is guarding the owner’s livestock. If you are bitten by the dog, you may not be entitled to a dog bite case. Montana State Code clarifies that an owner if the person is bitten in a public place or lawfully in a private place. This statute includes the property of the owner of the dog. Thus, if you are trespassing and are bitten, you are not able to hold the owner liable.

As mentioned, we love dogs. However, all dogs need to be handled with care. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) points out that any breed of dog can bite if the circumstances are right. Being safe around dogs is crucial. If you have any questions about how to stay safe around a dog or what rights you have when it comes to dog bites, contact The Advocates Law Firm. We can help you understand how dog bite injury cases work.