When you live in a small village you can’t get away with anything. The last time I lived in Magdalena I had some very naughty milk goats who had the tendency to get over any barricade I made and roam the village. Most of the time they wouldn’t go far and I’d come home to find them inside my house, all cupboard doors open with them happily eating everything they could find or in the storage shed with their heads deep into the chicken feed bag. It also wasn’t unusual to get a text from a neighbor informing me that my goats were using my car as a trampoline, again. I think people just assumed my car had been in the massive Socorro hail storm of 2004, but nope, those dents were made by hooves. Unfortunately, sometimes my goats would get a mind of their own and just leave the property and get me into trouble.
My neighbors weren’t impressed with my goats’ taste for anything chewable and often I would find my goats tied up to a tree at the end of the road. Once I got a text from Marshal Larry that my goats were at the dollar store nibbling on people’s grocery bags and another time I saw them walking along the road with a couple kids who had a bag of Doritos hoping they would share. I responded to each situation as quickly as I could and each time I did my best to repair and reinforced the fence.
Luckily, our miniature donkey, Piñon, and our sheep, Seven, didn’t have the same adventurous spirit. Except for the one time my kids left the gate to the corral open. The old sheep stayed close to the house and kept busy eating weeds. Piñon on the other hand was nowhere to be found, in a panic I drove around town looking for my little burro. When I drove by the gas station I noticed fire trucks were fueling up and it appeared the firefighters were huddled in a circle. I pulled over to get a closer look and there was my little donkey taking a selfie with a fire fighter while someone was feeding her a sandwich. She looked very pleased and she really didn’t want to go home with me. I have to say I felt quite embarrassed as all the firefighters watched me try and pull and push her stubborn butt the three blocks back home.
This time around I decided to get shorter goats and a taller fence. I also installed cameras so I can keep an eye on my critters when I’m not home and make sure they are okay. I’m so glad I did because last week I’m pretty sure it saved their lives when a pack of five dogs showed up on my property. One took a mouthful of feathers out of one of my chickens before I got out there. Luckily I was able to fight them off with a pitch fork, before they could kill my chickens and they ran off and I thought that was it. But a few minutes later I heard commotion from my neighbors horses and realized the dogs were over there on the other side of the arroyo, so I grabbed my pitch fork and ran over as fast as I could. The five dogs had the poor goat on the ground attacking from all ends. The horses and other animals looking nervous just stood around unsure of what to do. A couple stabs at each dog and a few choice words on my part got them off and soon after the local vet came to the rescue and was able to attend to its injuries.
As an animal owner who has been on both sides of having a bad fence I get that even when we love our pets it can be hard to keep them in. We can have the best intentions as pet owners and accidents happen, but ultimately we are responsible for our animals actions and once an animal crosses that line of harassing and killing other animals they become a threat to the public. They get a taste for blood and it’s over. We have to put the kids, elderly and everyone in the community above all else. Packs of dogs are never good news and when you live in a small village you can’t get away with anything and you also can’t wait until someone gets seriously hurt to do something about it.