A SHEPHERD who had left his herd of 300 sheep in their pens for the night after grazing them in the Sierra de las Nieves hills in Yunquera was horrified on Sunday morning (October 16) to discover it had been attacked by a pack of wild dogs, causing 30 deaths.
The dogs, many of which were caught by local hunters and rural guards in the area after the attack was reported, are mainly podencos and crossbreeds which the guards believe have taken to living wild after being abandoned by their owners or escaping from country properties.
Victor Villalobos, head of the national association of rural guards, said: “There are more of these wild dogs than people think. They live in packs in the wild, preying on wildlife and domestic animals. The shepherd says the 30 deaths have caused him losses of more than €3,000.”
The dogs are believed to have terrified the sheep and caused them to break free from the pen and flee. Four were killed by the predators, while another 26 plunged to their deaths over cliffs in their panic-stricken flight in the darkness. Now they have been handed over to the Guardia Civil to check for microchips and attempt to identify the dogs’ owners.
Head of COAG Andalucia agricultural association Antonio Rodriguez, a goat herd, said this type of attack is becoming common yet this was the worst he had heard of to date.
“These wild dogs can cover up to 40 kilometres in a night and target herds in the hills. Many of us are now opting to graze our animals in daylight and lock them up at night just in case,” Rodriguez explained.