“It makes me sick,” Harold Johnson said Monday after 11 more of his goats were killed by dogs in his field behind his Tree House Nursery in Dalzell. It is the third such attack in the last few weeks.
Johnson said several young goats, or “kids,” were among the victims mauled to death in the latest incident.
“We were out there playing with them yesterday,” he said. “My wife was feeding them out of a bucket yesterday afternoon.”
Johnson, who raises the goats to be milk animals or pets, said they were trying to keep the animals tame after surviving other attacks.
“It breaks your heart,” the retired Sumter police chief said.
Though Johnson’s field is protected by a 5- or 6-foot fence, the large dogs seem to have no problems leaping it, he said.
The dogs attacked early Monday morning, and Johnson was able to obtain pictures of the dogs using a deer camera, but he has still not been able to identify where the dogs live.
Johnson said he has been checking his field every night but didn’t Sunday.
“The one night I didn’t go out, they came in,” he said.
He said the attack happened between 3 and 5 a.m.
He has seen one of the three dogs that attacked Monday before, he said, a pit bull with short ears, but didn’t recognize the other two.
“I have ridden every back road and every field now for three weeks, and I’ve never seen these dogs,” he said. “Somebody knows these dogs. They are big, healthy, well-fed dogs.”
After the earlier attacks, Johnson said he was down to 13 goats. After this latest incident, he said he is down to one healthy goat and one injured goat. Nine of the goats killed were about 3 months old, he said.
“I’m sick; this is all my babies this time,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the goats are worth between $100 and $200, depending on age.
Johnson reported the incident to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, he said, and was hoping to get a call from Sheriff Anthony Dennis.
Sheriff’s office Public Information Officer Ken Bell said the fine for allowing vicious animals to run at large is $50 for a first offense and $100 for a second offense.
Anyone with information on the dogs is asked to call Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 436-2000 or Johnson at (803) 983-0551.