So, where was I? Oh, right. The memorable birthday party.
The party was starting to disassemble and my side of the family (the early attenders) were leaving. Joe's family (who arrived later) were still hanging around. During the party we had a huge downpour (which has been typical of life in Maryland the past month or so). After things cleared up a bit, the kids went out to play.
One of the kids ran in the house to report one of our hens in the neighbor's yard, so I quickly put on my shoes and went to retrieve the hen. She was hiding from us and it took three of us to get her out of the brush. As soon as I grabbed her, I tossed her over the fence into our yard and walked home. I kicked off my shoes and was about to relax.
Moments later one of the kids ran into the house screaming there was a dog in our yard. We do not own a dog. I ran around the house looking for shoes I could wear out in the wet grass. By the time I got outside, the dog was gone.
But I was out there in time for the chaos that ensued. As I walked near the smokehouse, I saw a hen with feathers everywhere. I screamed to Joe, "It killed a chicken!" At that point I saw the hen was still breathing and screamed back, in a panicked state, "It's still alive!" As we frantically ran around the yard, children running everywhere, chickens clucking and freaking out and heading for safety (under the deck), I noticed another injured hen right near the children's playground.
My niece was calling my name from across the street. A freaked out hen had gotten out of our fenced yard, crossed the street, and was trying to take up residence on my neighbor's front porch.
It was so chaotic and crazy. I walked across the street to get the freaked out hen, I tried to gather my flock and get them back into their coop, and Joe was putting the injured hens to rest.
After a head count, we realized we were missing a hen. I felt terrible. I let them out to snack and this terrible attack happened and now one was missing. I could just imagine she was still clutched in the jaws of the dog. Joe and the kids walked around the neighborhood looking for the hen and/or the dog. We found neither. At first.
Long story short, Animal Control said that they could not do anything about the dog because an adult did not witness it, only children. Joe hopped in his car with his cell phone, found the dog still running the streets of the town, and video-taped what he saw. Another call was placed to Animal Control and the dog was found and picked up.
We found our missing hen hiding in the (front yard) pumpkin patch. As I stood on our sidewalk, talking to neighbors and Joe's family, I kept hearing a familiar sound. I finally brought it to the attention of the others and Carter found the hen who was hiding for her life.
Sadly, because the owner of the dog was irresponsible, the dog was put to sleep by Animal Control. The same dog had attacked, killed and dismembered four chickens in town just a few weeks earlier and a neighbor also reported the dog for trying to knock over his rabbit hutch.
To think that all of this could have been prevented. If the dog had been fixed ... If the dog had been on a leash ... If the dog had been properly trained ... Knowing that my chickens are now safe does not make up for the fact that a dog was just being a dog and the owner was being irresponsible.
Yes. It was a memorable birthday party. Despite the events, Sawyer still claimed it was the best birthday party ever. (And there are still two presents I forgot to wrap and give to him ... which is probably another story in and of itself.)