They’re on the job: Meet the fluffy marshals of County Road 4430

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2018

Shades of the Old West – Marshal Dillon preserving law and order in Dodge City!

Well, that’s not exactly the way it is on County Road 4430 in rural Pike County, but close.

Dillon is the marshal and he is there to preserve and protect. However, not with a badge and a gun, but with a bark and a bite.  Dillon is a dog, a mix to be exact. He’s part Great Pyrenees, Akbash and Anatolian shepherd. With that heritage, a dog is destined to do great things. And with “Miss Lilly” his sidekick and like heritage, great things are being done.

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Dillon and Lilly are guard dogs for about 20 briar goats that are in the grass cutting business. They are paid in full for their services by Janet Benton of the Hamilton Crossroads community.

Benton said the goats came first and quickly required protective services.

“It all started years ago when I saw Heidi and fell in love with goats,” Benton said. “My grandfather had cows and they were in a fenced pasture. When he was no longer raising cows, the fence rotted and the pasture became a naturally reforested pine growth.”

That was not what Benton wanted. She wanted a pasture and the Heidi in her envisioned a herd of playful goats as inhabitants of the land.

The thinning and cutting of the pines that bordered the pasture put enough pennies in Benton’s pockets to put up a new fence.  After the grass and sprouting pines were cleared down to the bare earth, she brought home a herd of briar goats that were challenged with keeping out the pine trees.

Benton was more than pleased with the home for her herd of briar goats. The pasture was flanked by towering pines. There was shimmering pond on the backside of the pasture and the goats had a newfangled, ultramodern shelter made from a satellite dish and a barn to boot.

Benton was more than pleased with her goat herd and their habitat. The goats were keeping the pasture clean and they were just a fun bunch to watch. The goats were protected on all side by fencing and were safe from any intruders. However, the county road along the front side of the pasture presented a few concerns but not from the vehicles that traveled the road but the dogs – the domestic dogs – that wore a footpath along the roadside.

Then, it happened. Just for the sport of it, several dogs attacked the goat herd.

“It was a horrible killing,” Benton said. “The dogs killed four baby goats and injured several others.”

That’s when Benton knew protection was not only needed for her goat herd, it was vital to the goats’ survival. So, she brought in the marshal Dillon and his Miss Lilly and the mixed dogs were immediately and faithfully dedicated to the task.

“Dillon and Lilly are with the goats all the time,” Benton said. “They live with the goats and they protected them day and night, summer and winter. The dogs are always there watching over and protecting the goats.”

Dillon is extremely fast and his speed enables him to patrol the pasture and also keep watch near the road. Lilly’s place is with the herd. Both are diligent in their service.

Benton said Dillon and Lilly are celebrities of sorts. They attract the attention of passers-by. “Sometimes people will stop and the goats that are looking for hand-outs will run to the fence with Lilly herding them,” Benton said. “Dillon is always on guard. It’s fun and interesting to watch Dillon and Lilly. They are dedicated to keeping the goats safe.”

The goats are the beneficiaries of the protective spirits of Dillon and Lilly. If it were not for Dillon and Lilly, Benton’s briar goats would not be living the life of Riley on County Road 4430.