Idaho ranchers frustrated with people taking their working dogs to shelters

FAIRFIELD, Idaho — Great Pyrenees dogs that are working to protect flocks of sheep in the southern Idaho wilderness keep getting “rescued” by people who think the dogs are lost.

Flat Top sheep rancher Cory Peavey is frustrated because he is spending a lot of time picking up his expensive dogs that he uses to protect his herd from shelters or people’s homes.

There are many sheep ranchers in Idaho, and many use Great Pyrenees dogs, something that might look out of the ordinary in the woods to someone camping.

Peavy understands that it might be strange to see a dog in these areas, but he says they are usually just farther from the flock than usual.

“It may just be in the process of catching up with the herd and it will probably find its way, it’s not its first rodeo. These dogs see years of the same route, doing the same thing,” Peavy told KTVB.

Instead of taking the working dogs, people are encouraged to call the number on the tag if they are concerned, but not to remove it.

“They shouldn’t be taking a dog out of its environment, bringing it home, causing it undue stress and exposing it to unnecessary domestication and kinda reversing my process. For me, I’d appreciate a phone call over someone taking my dog,” the rancher told KTVB.

The spokesperson for the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission agrees with Peavy.

“They really should leave the dog in place, unless it’s injured or looks like it really needs help,” Steve Stuebner told KTVB.

Great Pyrenees dogs are known for their ability to protect flocks of sheep from Idaho predators including coyotes, wolves, bears and mountain lions.