Animal Rights

3 Pit Bulls Kill 42 Penned Goats at Lake Los Angeles

| by Denise A Justin

In what must have been a terrorizing death, 42 helpless goats were killed in a closed pen from which they could not escape after three pit bulls jumped the fence and began a frenzied, bloody attack.  Many of the goats were pregnant, according to media reports. The massacre occurred about 8:00 p.m. on Monday night, November 14.

Two of the dogs were still in the pen and one more was nearby when an officer from Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control’s Lancaster shelter arrived at the scene and found the 42 goats dead or dying. Those that were still alive had to be euthanized because of the severity of their injuries and suffering, stated Danny Ubario, Lancaster shelter manager.  He also stated that the owners of the goats later brought the carcasses of the dead animals to the shelter for disposal.

There was a reported total of 50 goats in the corral in the 16300 block of Chuka Avenue (near 164th St. and Avenue Q) at Lake Los Angeles, in the Palmdale/Lancaster area.  The dogs are now impounded at the Los Angeles County Animal Care center in Lancaster, about 70 miles north of the city of Los Angeles.

The Pit Bulls were loose without collars and were not microchipped. A fourth Pit Bull was reported in the area, but animal control officials state that they are unsure whether it was actually involved in the attack. Lt. Aaron Reyes stated that a ten-day patrol to locate it will continue in the area and around a nearby school. 

The shelter stated that a woman claimed ownership of one of the dogs, according to a media report.  They did not indicate whether it was known to be involved in the slaughter.

The pit bulls appeared thin and disoriented in the photos provided by KTLA Channel 5, and Lt. Reyes stated, “Right now, they're probably just scared.".

Lake Los Angeles is a rural area where many unwanted animals are dumped; and, one resident commented, “They go without food for days.”  However, none of the reports mentioned that any of the goats were eaten. 

"This is a tragic incident and completely avoidable," Marcia Mayeda, director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control, told myFoxLA. "When dogs run at large, particularly in packs, they tend to act up, feeding into each other's mischievous behavior," Mayeda said. "Sometimes that mentality results in tragedy, such as what happened in this case."

Pack mentality occurs naturally in dogs.  It is a natural instinct for other dogs to join in when an attack is initiated by one of them.  Pack mentality plays a key a role in fatal dog attacks, whether on humans or other animals, ” states the American Canine Foundation,  because “…multiple dogs can inflict injuries quicker and with more severity than a single dog…It is the canine equivalent of the human ‘mob mentality.’” 

This is not the first alarming event involving Pit Bulls in the Lancaster area.  In an effort to address both increasing attacks and dog fighting, the city of Lancaster approved mandatory sterilization of pit bulls and Rottweilers in January 2009.  The stated goal was to adopt an ordinance designed to discourage gangs by imposing penalties on the owners of dogs deemed “potentially dangerous” or “vicious.”  It targeted pit bulls and Rottweilers as specifically the two breeds of dogs that are favored by gang members.

There was no mention whether any of the Pit Bulls involved in the attack on the goats was altered.

Officials are hoping the owner(s) can be identified and are asking for the public’s help.  Since the dogs were caught unlicensed, there is no way to know if they have rabies vaccinations,” said Danny Ubario, describing it as a "tragic deed."