LAKE LOS ANGELES – Salvador Castaneda was still visibly shaken Tuesday as he recounted what he saw when he pulled into his brother’s yard around 4 p.m. Monday to check on his pet goats.
“I heard dogs barking and then I saw dead goats on the floor everywhere,” said Salvador. He says as the few surviving goats screamed, he tried to scare the dogs away, with little success.
“The big black dog jumped over the fence and ran, and another dog jumped in here with the babies,” he said, pointing inside the corral.
Salvador says he saw four dogs — two black, one grey and one brown. He believes they were all Pit bulls. He says one jumped the fence, but the other dogs continued to attack his goats, the majority of which were kids less than six months old.
“They were just babies,” he said.
Salvador, who speaks little English, called his brother Reyes Castaneda who owns the property at 38913 164th Street East. Reyes Castaneda contacted the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
The call was received around 4:30 p.m., said Lancaster Sheriff’s Station spokesman Michael Rust. Rust says when deputies arrived on the scene they discovered 42 goats were killed, but said that the matter was being handled by the Department of Animal Care and Control.
“It’s not a criminal thing for us,” said Rust. “If the dogs attack a human then we get involved to a certain degree, but we have animal control dealing with that so we were there to help them.”
Salvador Castaneda said, of the 42 goats that were killed, 28 of them were kids. He took six of the surviving goats to a friend’s property.
He said he had kept the pet goats at his brother’s property for about two months. Sometimes they would bring children over to play with the goats.
Reyes Castaneda said the fence around his property was supposed to protect the goats. He suspects the dogs got into the property by chewing through one of the wood panels in the fence and then digging a hole to squeeze under the fence. He is intent on finding the owners of the dogs so they can be punished.
“As soon as I find the owner I’m going to make him pay, because that’s criminal,” he said. “Imagine if there were little kids here. That is crazy, and that is something that’s not supposed to be happening. That is why we have the fence and we have everything secured so that people can’t come inside.”
A neighbor, who did not want to be named, said officials have already taken away the Pit bull directly across the street from the Castaneda’s property. The owner of the Pit bull was in Arizona on a work assignment, the neighbor said.
The neighbor suspects that a pack of dogs who roam the neighborhood at night may be responsible. She said a lady recently vacated a house around the corner, but did not take her seven dogs with her.
“Most of them are Pit bulls,” said the neighbor. “They run around here wild at night and they get in my trash sometimes.”
“I think it’s criminal!” said Reyes Castaneda. “You should take your dogs to animal control when you leave your house. You can’t just say ‘I’m leaving this house and I’m going to let go my bad dogs…’ Pit bulls especially!”
Reyes Castaneda would like anyone with information on who owns or may have previously owned the dogs running loose in the neighborhood around 164th Street East and Avenue Q, to contact him at 661-718-7521.
UPDATED 11/16/11: A statement released from the Department of Animal Care and Control reads:
Three of the pit bulls were captured by animal control officers from the County of Los Angeles’ Department of Animal Care and Control last night [Tuesday 11/15/11]. One remains at large so animal control officials have set up a ten-day patrol check of the area, and the nearby school.
“This is a tragic incident, and completely avoidable,” said Marcia Mayeda, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. “When dogs run at large, particularly in packs, they tend to act up feeding into each other’s mischievous behavior,” Mayeda stated. “Sometimes that mentality results in tragedy, such as what happened in this case.”
The dogs are being held at the Lancaster Animal Care Center, located at 5210 W. Avenue I in Lancaster.
“The case is very preliminary and we are hoping to locate the owner of these dogs,” said Danny Ubario, Shelter Manager. Officials scanned the dogs and no microchip was found. The dogs will be held in protective custody while department officials seek out their legal owner.
Anyone with information on these dogs is asked to call the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control at (661) 974-8358.