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     Luxembourg sheep killer was a "dog not a wolf!"
      When a slaughtered sheep was discovered in Luxembourg at the end of September, rumours were rife that it marked the return of the wolf to the Grand Duchy as there has been evidence of the animals return in the region, albeit in France, Germany and Belgium.
      It was a dog not a wolf! proclaimed Laurent Schley, director of the countrys Administration of Nature and Forests, following a detailed examination of the sheeps carcass.
      DNA testing was carried out and indeed the conclusion found that it was a dog, possibly a stray, a problem that is getting worse in the old mining areas of the south of Luxembourg, Schley stated.
      It was the night between September 26 and 27 when the sheeps body was discovered in the Kayl countryside. Local shepherds know the stray dog phenomenon and are regularly confronted by them but usually they simply kill the sheep.
      On this occasion, explained Schley, when I saw the sheeps body I could not exclude the wolf one hundred percent, because it was half eaten, which is rare for dogs.
      Together with the current hype around the possible return of the wolf to the Grand Duchy this could have been evidence of the animals return, especially as there has been such evidence not far from Luxembourg, notably at "Lac de la Madine" in the Meuse, not too far from Metz in France.
      The worrying stray dog phenomenon
      Traces of DNA were taken with swabs from cuts and bite marks left on the sheep and sent within 24 hours to the Senkenberg Institute in Frankfurt, where they were given a thorough examination.
      But the verdict was unequivocal and exonerated the wolf entirely, but does expose an obvious issue of stray dogs in the Grand Duchy.
      The fact is that "domestic dogs actually represent a much larger problem for shepherds than wild predators, said Schley, but we never talk about it because in the case of a dog attack, the shepherd is never compensated, unlike a wolf attack.
      He went on to explain that, in these cases the owner of the wandering dog is rarely found, something that Schley knows only too well.
      And it is getting worse, especially in the old mining south around places like Dudelange and Differdange.
      Appeal to dog owners
      Sheep are not the only animals that fear the teeth of stray dogs. Deer, hares and also birds including rare species are at risk.
      However, the stray dog phenomenon is far from being just a Luxembourg problem as the Frankfurt institute receives many samples of attacks suspected to be wolf or lynx attacks only to find that they are dogs. In fact Schley is aware of four sheep in Saarland that have recently been killed by dogs.
      In statement released by the Administration of the Nature and Forests on October 27 a warning was issued to all dog owners, but especially those that own bigger breeds, to never leave their dogs to roam freely, especially at night.


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