A smallholder has been the victim of several livestock worrying incidences which has left the family devastated and uncertain about the viability of their business.
The Howie family, based in Rhosmeirch, Angelsey, run a flock of Jacobs to supplement their start up wool business Tyddynyds, but in January were victims tol sheep attack incidences which has cost them more than £1,600 in vet fees and medicines, additional feed costs and time away from work.
The attacks happened on rented land in Bangor, in a padlocked field running parallel to the A55 and the police have been informed.
Esther Howie, who came across the four injured sheep on her routine check, said the sight ‘shocked her’ as she did not ‘expect this to happen in a safe protected area’ and decided to move her flock back to the main holding despite waterlogged fields to protect their welfare.
Returning to collect the sheep, she noticed another had been attacked, with injuries so severe a vet had no choice but to put the sheep down a week later.
Esther Howie, said: “Besides the obvious pain and distress caused to the ewes themselves, the incidents has affected almost half my breeding stock and has had knock-on consequences far beyond the loss of life itself.
“It has taken years of careful breeding to develop the pedigree flock - and my business is very much dependent on my girls.
“Good quality land is in short supply here and now I have to decide whether to put the sheep back into a field where multiple dog attacks have occurred or downsize and bring them home with the consequence of not being able to fully develop my business plans.
“I should not have to make this choice - but I do - because someone else chose not to act responsibly with their pet.
“I have invested a huge amount into developing the smallholding and have finally been able to see a point where my dreams of developing the business here are becoming a reality - now this is all hanging in the balance.”
Stay safe —dogs attacking animals can turn on humans so it’s important to take care and keep your distance.
Collect evidence — if possible, use your phone to video or photograph the attack. This could be useful evidence for police and the courts to identify the dog’s owner.
Document the aftermath — take photographs of any injuries to your animals. If ewes prolapse or abort get photographic evidence of this too.
Contact the police — you should call 999 and report an attack if it is taking place or 101 if an attack has happened but the dog is no longer in the area.
Reporting livestock worrying incidents will help police build a true picture of the number of attacks which take place.
Farmers Guardian's Take the Lead campaign continues to raise awareness of 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.
Farmers Guardian have 1,000s of Take the Lead gatepost signs to give away.
All you need to do is send a self-addressed, A4 envelope to:
Farmers Guardian Take the Lead
Unit 4 Fulwood Business Park