‘Like a massacre’: Dog attack kills 29 show animals at Bok Academy North, FFA advisor says

‘Like a massacre’: Dog attack kills 29 show animals at Bok Academy North, FFA advisor says

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — When Jennifer Williams got to school Thursday morning, it was not a pretty sight.

“It was like a massacre. There were just dead rabbits everywhere, dead chickens everywhere. It was unreal,” she said.

Williams is an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Bok Academy North in Lake Wales.

On Thursday morning, three dogs dug a hole under a fence and got into an area known as the “Land Lab” at the school. It is where students and staff house dozens of show animals, including rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, pigs and cattle.

Courtesy: Jennifer Williams
Courtesy: Jennifer Williams

The FFA students help breed and raise the animals and then show them at youth fairs.

“A lot of the kids, because they’re from a more city area, they’re not around animals. They bond better with the chickens and the rabbits because they’re smaller,” said Williams.

The dogs were able to tear open the rabbit cages and get into the chicken coop.

A custodian was able to scare away the dogs as they tried to enter a duck enclosure.

In total, 29 rabbits and chickens were killed.

Two rabbits stayed safe inside a wooden enclosure.

“It was awful. I had come out to feed the calf, and Ms. Williams wouldn’t let me go anywhere near this area. She just had me stay over there. She was like, you don’t want to be over here go inside,” said Riley Grogan, an eighth grader and FFA officer.

“I’ve never seen dogs just randomly attack a chicken in the middle of the school. There’s fence and everything. I thought it would stop them but obviously it didn’t,” said Zibe Stein, an eighth grader and president of the Bok Academy North FFA.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the dogs were cur and cur mixes. One is male and two are female.

They belong to two next door neighbors, both of whom were cited for allowing their dogs to illegally roam.

Polk County Animal Control spotted the dogs laying down in an intersection but lost sight of them in the Harding Avenue area.

As of Friday afternoon, they had not been located.

Meanwhile, students and staff at Bok Academy North are trying to recover from the incident as their hopes for a successful youth fair season next year are likely dashed.

“There’s rules at the different fairs of age limits for animals so they have to be a certain age before they can show. Any chickens we get now that are new chickens, they wouldn’t be able to show because they wouldn’t be quite old enough yet. We’ll have a lot of kids that won’t be able to show poultry because they were all killed,” said Williams.

Most of the surviving animals are being housed off property while the school works on improving safety measures.

Williams said the school is accepting donations for new, sturdier fencing and housing enclosures.

Anyone interested in pitching in can contact Williams at the school at (863) 232-4665.

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