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Article posted Wednesday, November 6, 2013 5:42pm

Dear Mary Pat,

If I were a chicken, I would run away from dogs. My friend has a neighbor whose chickens are more like pets and they play with her dogs. I asked my friend to babysit my dogs and I specifically said, “You must keep your eye on the little one at all times or keep her on a leash!”

The sun was out and the dogsitter fell asleep and woke to screaming chickens. No one actually witnessed it, but I think little dog went after the neighbor’s chickens! She chases squirrels, turkeys, and deer, but never catches them. I think she got excited and pulled all the feathers out of the chickens.

I went to the neighbor to apologize. She said no one saw it, so it may not have been my dog. I think it was. Do I need to do anything more than apologize? Buy her eggs? Or a chicken with feathers?

Sincerely,

Have I Done Enough

Jacksonport, WI

Dear Have I Done Enough,

It is unfortunate that this happened, however, it isn’t your fault. I understand that you feel responsible, but you yourself said that your friend fell asleep. He didn’t take precautions to protect the neighbors’ chickens from your dogs. You were very clear that they needed to be leashed/watched at all times. I think most dogs would probably run after chickens in their midst.

The neighbor doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge against you…or your dog, which is very gracious of her. It does seem that your four-legged friend was the likely culprit. The feathers will grow back in a couple of weeks, so maybe that is why the neighbor is taking this so well. The chickens could have been injured or killed, so this doesn’t seem so bad in comparison. You have apologized and I think you have done what you should.

In future, you might consider another dogsitter…one that doesn’t live next door to chickens.

Good luck,

Mary Pat