Neighbors in a small New Mexico town are reacting to what’s been a deadly summer for their livestock.
Since May, a dog has been terrorizing homes and killing farm animals in their own yards. Neighbors have collectively lost at least a dozen goats and sheep, but some estimate the losses go well beyond a dozen.
“I would just be devastated if something happened to them,” said Yasmin Thornell, a Peralta neighbor who hasn’t lost any livestock this summer.
While Thornell wasn’t affected by the dog, many of her neighbors were.
Neighbors first found animals mauled to death on Memorial Day weekend. A dog was suspected of killing the animals, which had marks across their hind legs, backsides, faces and throats.
The killings continued through June and July, with neighbors reporting a dog attacking their livestock, then running off before it could be caught.
The situation has left many on edge for weeks.
“I have my goats and we have small kids and I don’t want them to wake up in the middle of the night to a bloodbath,” said Thornell.
KRQE News 13 spoke to several neighbors who reported losing a total of at least six goats and six sheep. One neighbor said that they knew of at least three other neighbors that were affected.
Many in Peralta say it was a major loss felt across the town.
“This is a farming community, so a lot of people raise their animals for feed and for milk, they sell them, they show them,” said Thornell.
One neighbor’s home surveillance camera finally caught the dog responsible. A video showed the brown and black dog killing a goat.
Peralta Animal Control identified the dog as a Belgian Sheperd named “Buddy.” After a trial in Peralta Municipal Court, Judge Tracy Aragon found the dog’s owner Brandon Broyles guilty of having an animal at large and five counts of “vicious dog killing livestock.” The judge also ordered that the dog be euthanized.
Since “Buddy” has been euthanized, Peralta Animal Control says the animal maulings have stopped.
For some neighbors, the end of the case is a relief.
“It’s farm life and so our animals are important,” said Thornell.
KRQE News 13 spoke with some of the victims, who did not want to do an interview. Several victims said while they’re glad the dog was caught, they’re still upset at the outcome of the case. The victims say that town Judge Tracy Aragon opted not to enforce any financial penalty against the dog’s owner or any restitution for the victims.
The victims still have the option of taking the dog owner to civil court for damages, however, many told KRQE News 13 that the cost of doing so would likely be more expensive than the potential value of the lost livestock.