West Sussex County Times - Saturday 21 March 1885
CUCKFIELD. PIGEONS DESTROYED BY A DOG.—A man named James Box, residing at Whiteman's Green, Cuckfield, has been in the habit of breeding valuable carrier pigeons, principally of the sort known as "Dragons," and had built in the garden at the back of his cottage a small pigeonry, the door of which was made fast so as to keep out cats and foxes, and secured by wire. In this building he had ten pairs of pigeons.
On the night of the 6th inst., these were all safe at roost, some of the hens sitting on their eggs, which were almost ready for hatching, but on Saturday morning Box found to his surprise that the fastening of the door had been forced, the wire being cut or bitten asunder, but not so far as to admit a person. On entering he saw nine of the birds lying dead on the floor, torn and mutilated. Nine others were missing and the remaining two, which had escaped with their lives, were fluttering about.
On searching round the building he found the footprints of a large dog, and on making enquires, discovered that a spinner named Robinson, living in the neighbourhood, was in possession of a retriever bitch that had puppies and was often seen mining about on nights looking half starved.
Accompanied by a police officer he went to the kennel where they were kept and found there a quantity of feathers and wings of pigeons, on the inner side of which was legibly stamped the owner's name. This was conclusive, and as the pigeonry was low pitched the dog was able to disturb the birds at roost and destroy them.
The next night, Saturday, a young man named Holman, under gardener to Mr. Peel, of Knowle House, had four favourite pigeons in a temporary shed close at hand. They were also carried off, but the feathers not being stamped the clue was lost, and several others who keep rabbits also found that the hutches had been tampered with, evidently by a dog's teeth, but were too securely fastened.
The loss to Box, who is a hard working and deserving man, who during the breeding season has made a handsome profit by disposing of the young birds, is great, the old birds of the carrier species being worth from 15s. to 20s. a pair. The owner of the dog positively denies its culpability, although no further losses have occurred since the dog was chained up, and it is doubtful if there is any chance of a remedy.