Fluvanna Farm Owner Speaks Out after Dogs Attack her Livestock - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Fluvanna Farm Owner Speaks Out after Dogs Attack her Livestock

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A Fluvanna County farm owner is urging people to keep pets on their own property to prevent the terrifying scene that played out inside her barn. 

A pair of dogs mauled Trish Cooper's goats to death.  To stop them and protect her property, she says her husband had no choice but to shoot the dogs.  Cooper says what makes all of this worse is that it could have been prevented.

Cooper says she was confronted by two barking dogs next to her barn in Palmyra early Tuesday morning.  When she rounded the corner, she found a terrifying scene - three of her pregnant goats mauled by the dogs.

She said, "I just kind of lost it.  I think maybe that's the only thing that kept the dogs at bay because I was screaming at them, I found some of my best friends dead and the other one was suffering and there was nothing I could do for her.  Her ears were in shreds.  They were my babies."

One of the goats was dead.  Another had to be euthanized.  The third goat had bite marks on the back of her legs, a torn ear and Cooper says the goat's personality has changed.

"They're scared to be down here in the barnyard.  They want to be with us all the time," she said.

Fluvanna County Animal Control tried to catch the dogs for hours with no luck, but the dogs came back to Cooper's farm that afternoon and started chasing her chickens.  Cooper's husband shot and killed the two dogs.

The dogs belonged to one of Cooper's neighbors, and their bodies were returned by animal control.  Officials have not confirmed the breeds of the dogs.  The Fluvanna County SPCA says all this loss could have been prevented with proper fencing or training.

Jennie Shuklis with the Fluvanna County SPCA said, "It's very hard to make sense of the situation because so many people right now are grieving - the owners of the goats, the owners of the dogs, and the situation probably could've been prevented had the dogs been restrained on the property."

"It's hard enough on farmers to have to try to protect your livestock from wildlife," Cooper said.  "We have coyotes in the area, we have bobcats, we have fox and to have to worry about neighbors' dogs, that should never be a concern."

Fluvanna County does not have a leash law, so animals can roam free.  The sheriff's office says no criminal charges are being filed in this case, but the law would allow the Coopers to seek civil penalties.

NBC29 went to the neighbor's house, but no one answered the door.  We also tried to call them, but we're told they are new to the area and do not have a phone number listed.

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