|USDA to Hunt El Paso County Wild Dogs
Local leaders signed with the feds to trap and remove up to 100 feral canines that have been killing livestock
By KIERAN NICHOLSON
Reprinted from the Denver Post
(September 1, 2008) Federal agents will soon be setting traps and hunting wild dogs that have been killing and feeding on livestock in eastern El Paso County, Colo., officials said.
The country is set to sign an $8,000 contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would provide at least two USDA agents to hunt and remove feral dogs around Ellicott, about 20 miles east of Colorado Springs.
Agents will initially set box traps to try to capture the dogs, which areas residents say number between 50 and 100, but the agents will be armed and can shoot the dogs if threatened or attacked, said El Paso Country District 2 Commissioner Amy Lathen.
Lathen said the dogs have killed about a dozen livestock in the area over the past six months, including rams, sheep, goats, lambs, calves and even domestic dogs.
The USDA was called in because of the livestock deaths and because the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the resources and staffing to pursue the dogs at length, Lathen said.
The dogs reportedly have threatened school children waiting for buses in the area and workers making deliveries, among others.
Agents at first will use box traps, which will be checked in a 24-hour cycle, Lathen said. If the box traps don’t work, agents will begin setting ‘cinch’ or ‘snare’ traps and leg traps, she said.
Agents will try to turn trapped canines over to the county’s humane society, but if the dogs aren’t wearing collars and are vicious, they’ll be shot, Lathen said.
Lathen said the problem has been ongoing for years and has been perpetuated by people who dump pets in the area and by the wild dogs that are now breeding.