A farmer has launched an impassioned plea to dog walkers, after a gruesome attack on a sheep flock resulted in the death of more than 20 lambs.
The attack took place on April 15 at Walltown Farm in Haltwhistle Cumbria, killing 22 lambs and leaving a further three ravaged ewes and lambs severely injured, two of which had to be put down following the incident.
Highlighting the severity of the attack, farm owner Christopher Hall claimed he had not seen this level of devastation in over 50 years of farming.
He said: “This attack is absolutely soul destroying and, sadly, it is a recurring issue which could be prevented if people simply used their common sense and placed their dogs on a lead.”
The wounds sustained were confirmed by a vet to be of those from a large dog and followed reports on a community Facebook page of a missing dog just three hours prior to the attack, near the Walltown farm’s fields.
Urging walkers to keep their dogs on a lead at all times, Mr Hall said: “Obviously we cannot make any assumptions but the fact remains that a large dog was left unaccompanied and a horrible attack followed.
“If the dog owner had notified us, this could have been prevented.”
With the farm also being home to Mr Hall’s son and daughter-in law Robert and Liana Hall, he added the family had all suffered from this ‘devastating’ incident.
Mrs Hall said: “We live near a national park and have always been incredibly compassionate to walkers but to have finished lambing nearly 400 sheep and after four weeks have our two children open their eyes to this attack, it is unbearable.”
She added the police had been contacted but there was not enough evidence to launch an investigation.
But Mrs Hall also took the opportunity to thank members of the local community for the ‘incredible’ support the family had received following the incident, saying: “We have received care packages and messages of consolation.
“We are now pleading members of the public who are using these public footpaths, especially during lockdown, not to let their dogs roam unaccompanied as the effects have a really detrimental impact on farmers – our animals are our livelihood.”
Farmers Guardian's 'Take the Lead' campaign continues to raise awareness of sheep worrying incidences caused by dog attacks.
The campaign, launched in April 2014, has gained huge industry backing over its time, helping to raise awareness among the British public about livestock worrying and speaking up for our readers’ concerns.
More than 60,000 free signs have been sent out, spurring awareness not seen before in regards to livestock worrying.