GREEN, Ohio — Early Monday, Diana Pratt offered to go to the family barn in place of her 11-year-old daughter, granddaughter and a friend to take care of a familiar routine: feeding their nine alpacas.
Pratt was just outside of her home when she first encountered two large dogs in her driveway and tried to shoo them away.
Her husband, Mike Pratt, said the dogs started down the driveway heading away from the barn. But they ended up turning and disappearing outside of a fence by their barn where Diana was surprised to see them again.
“When she went down into the basement, she noticed one of the alpacas laying down and obviously injured. She happened to look across the pen, and the other two females are already dead laying there,” said Pratt.
Pratt said that the same two dogs then went inside the barn along with his wife and the dead alpacas.
“The two dogs had gotten back in the barn, and they were standing in the barn looking at her,” said Pratt.
Diana ran up the stairs from the basement area of the barn where the alpacas were penned, locked the door behind her and ran for the house to call the sheriff’s office.
She also called a neighbor to warn her of what was happening.
“She was hysterical. She said not to let my kids outside because there were two big dogs loose, and they had killed all their alpacas,” said Melissa Buck.
Mike Pratt said he was just getting home when he saw the dogs back in their driveway, covered in blood.
“They probably weighed 150 pounds apiece. I don’t know what kind they were. They had those big square heads on them like the bull mastiffs have,” he said.
Pratt believes the dogs got into the barn through a fence and another gate, then forced a board loose on a closed barn door.
Once inside, they were able to get inside the pens where the defenseless alpacas were kept.
“They had to be put up in a barn at night because we have coyotes here and we were always afraid the coyotes would put them down, and they can’t fight. All they have is toenails and pads like dogs on their feet so even if they kick you, they really don’t hurt.” said Pratt.
Deputies arrived just behind Pratt and were familiar with the dogs, which had apparently been wandering for several days from their home several miles away.
Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Inspector Bill Holland said they had records of six previous calls about the same dogs including a call last October in which they were accused of killing a cat.
“They (deputies) had their guns out and drawn so they were going to put them down if they made an aggressive move, and the one sheriff for some reason said ‘hey let’s try this.’ He had a K-9 car, so it had the fence in it, and he opened the door and said ‘hey boys, let’s go for a ride’ and both dogs jumped in the sheriff’s cruiser,” said Pratt.
“It was horrific. I mean it was one of the worst things I had ever seen,” said Jarret Buck, a neighbor who helped clean up the aftermath.
“I mean I didn’t think dogs could do that to be honest with you,” said Buck, adding, “they were killing them for fun, that’s point blank. There was nothing really eaten — they were just killing them for fun.”
The dogs’ owner has been charged with a fourth degree misdemeanor for control of dogs.
Pratt said he had been told that dogs were being euthanized. Holland said that has not happened, and he did not expect them to be put down.
Diana Pratt said with their history, and given what the dogs did to all of their alpacas, it concerns her that it could be even worse if they were to get loose again.
“That is concerning, and they could attack a person or a child or something else. It’s not safe for them to be out there and not controlled,” she said.