SYRACUSE — Joanna Reeder is tired of her five pet chickens and her duck being attacked by what she believes to be a trigger-happy pellet or BB gun owner.
Reeder said her animals, which were in her Syracuse backyard, have been shot by pellets on two separate occasions. Each time, she has had to take an injured fowl for treatment at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, in Ogden.
“I just want it to stop," Reeder said of the attacks.
Reeder also claims the Syracuse police and Davis County Animal Care and Control officials have been slow to prosecute anyone.
But both agencies maintain Reeder’s claims are unfounded based on any evidence she can present.
Davis County animal control officers did respond to Reeder’s home Dec. 13, based on a claim of animal cruelty, Davis County Animal Care and Control Director Clint Thacker said.
There was nothing at the scene that positively showed the wounds to the animals were caused by a pellet or BB gun, Thacker said.
The officer who went to the home suspected the wounds came about as a result of the fowl “pecking” one another, Thacker said.
The county has kept the investigation open in the event more evidence surfaces, he said, but based on interviews involving neighbors it is currently being considered an “unfounded complaint.”
Reeder also contacted Syracuse police several months ago on a separate occasion, after fearing one of her neighbors was shooting a BB gun at her pets, based on screams she heard coming from the animals.
“We looked into it the best we can,” Syracuse Police Lt. Tracy Jensen said of Reeder’s complaint.
The police did not find evidence to substantiate Reeder’s claim, he said.
But Reeder contends she has found BB gun pellets in her yard, and she suspects some sort of BB air rifle is being used to shoot her animals.
Equally concerning is that whoever is shooting her animals has to go to a lot of trouble to do so, because her pets are in her backyard, surrounded by a 6-foot-high privacy fence, she said.
Reeder, who has owned the animals since spring, said she suspects juveniles are to blame.
“This is not OK for kids to do,” she said. “I don’t think it is a sport. I don’t think it is a game. I don’t think it is boys being boys.”
To get the bleeding to stop on one of the birds, Reeder said, she took it to the Wild Life Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, where she volunteers.
Dalyn Erickson, with the Center, confirmed that Reeder brought in a chicken and a duck that had been wounded.
“It did appear they had been shot by a pellet gun,” Erickson said.
Even though the center is not a veterinarian’s office, it takes in about 2,000 animals annually, many of them birds that have been shot with a pellet or BB, Erickson said.
“If it were a cat or dog,” Erickson said, “someone would be on it.”
But for whatever reason, she said, injured wildlife don’t raise those same concerns.