Polk County family terrorized by pack of dogs

"Moose" the calf. (Photo provided by family.)

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A Polk County family says they are under attack and their livestock is being terrorized and attacked by a vicious pack of dogs that belong to their neighbor.

Melissa Nichols tells WFLA an incident over the weekend was the final straw.

“My daughter’s bedroom is in the back and she heard what sounded like a whimper. So she ran outside and screams ‘Dogs!’ That’s when I knew to grab my gun,” Nichols said.

Nichols tells us her daughter ran outside and saw something no 12-year old should ever see.

“She realized they had got a hold of her calf,” Nichols said while fighting back tears.

“Moose,” her daughter’s bottle-fed calf, had been mauled to death and the dogs then turned their focus on her.

“I got about halfway out to the field and her scream changed to something I’ll never forget because I knew they cornered her,” Nichols said.

The terrified mom said she grabbed her gun and was forced to do the unthinkable.

“When I killed the dog, the dog was less than 4 feet from her, chasing her, and there were three on her at that point,” Nichols said.

She claims the other dogs scattered, and showed WFLA a photo of the dead dog, which had a collar with her neighbor’s name on it.

“I have three total dead animals now,” Nichols said.

She told WFLA  a steer and a cow also died in recent months.

WFLA learned that Polk County Animal Control has cited the dog’s owner Hayden Davis six times, including the most recent incident, for not having tags on the dogs and for letting them roam.

Davis told WFLA that he did not have a comment.

According to a PCSO spokesperson, Davis will have to appear before a judge and could face up to $2,000 in fines.

“This particular viscous dog has been killed so we just hope his other dogs don’t rise to this level,” PCSO Spokesperson Carrie Horstman told WFLA. “We tell people all the time to be a hard target against crime, and in this case, against these dogs.”

Nichols doesn’t think that’s enough to keep her family and livestock safe.

“We are under attack and there is nothing we can do about it,” Nichols said.

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