Summerfield, NC -- A Guilford County woman is reconciling with the loss of four of her pets after waking up to the rabbits dead in her backyard.
Janice Nicholson says the two dogs without their leashes ran off an area property in Summerfield and strangled the rabbits to death early Wednesday morning. According to the Guilford County Animal Control, loose dogs continue to be a huge problem - especially in the county areas.
Forsyth County Animal Control adds that most of its $2 million goes to handling loose animal cases.
Last year the department handled more than 14,000 calls.
Wednesday, an emotional Nicholson told WFMY News 2 that she hopes the attacks on her pet is a wake up call to pet owners who don't keep their animals on a leash.
Nicholson explains that her four rabbits had no chance when two loose dogs stormed her property around 7 a.m.
"One got in, and the only thing I can figure out, the other one was on the outside. He was on the inside, he couldn't figure out how to get back out so he was chasing the rabbits out and as they went out, the other dog was killing them," Nicholson described.
The Nicholson family had the rabbit fence heavily fortified in anticipation of something like this and still it was no match for the two hounds.
"They were so aggressive, they broke the tree roots," Nicholson explained while overcome with emotions. "This was pushed up like this and that's how they got in. They pushed this in."
The farm owner was able to hold the dogs long enough for the Guilford County Animal Control to pick them up.
"I don't care if you live in the city or county, dogs need to be leashed anytime they come out of that backdoor, front door," said Tracie Ross, an animal control officer.
Nicholson says this is not the first time loose dongs have attacked an animal on her property.
"This is the third time we've had serious slaughter of our animals by dogs," she explained.
In those other instances stray dogs killed more than 100 of her animals, mostly chickens; but she says Wednesday's incident hit her the hardest.
"These were my babies, these were my pets," she said tearfully.
Animal control took the two dogs to the shelter. The officer was able to identify the owner using the dog tags.
The owner can pick them up but he or she is also facing a fine. The amount depends on how many times this has happened in the past.
It's the law in many of Triad counties and cities to keep your pet on a leash. Generally, you're required to contain your dog or any pet on your property.
It's illegal to let them roam or leave the property without holding them on a leash. In some cases, like Forsyth county, not only do you pay a civil penalty and the cost of damages, you can also face criminal misdemeanor charges that could cost you an additional $500 dollars.