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Farmers deliver hard-hitting message to walkers whose dogs attack livestock

Farmers have reported a spike in dog attacks over the Christmas and New Year period

Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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Dozens of sheep have been savaged in the last few weeks
Dozens of sheep have been savaged in the last few weeks

Farmers and police have reiterated the message to dog owners that animals which attack livestock could be shot.

 

It comes after a spate of devastating dog attacks on sheep over the Christmas and New Year period, with large numbers of animals suffering horrific injuries.

 

  • The law - where do you stand if a dog attack occurs on your farm? Click here

 

Wyn Williams, who farms at Lloc, near Holywell, Flintshire, said he had been forced to shoot two Lurchers which left three sheep dead and six injured.

 

Mr Williams said dog attacks were happening ‘too often’, adding he would work with police to prosecute the owners.

 

Four sheep had to be destroyed in Lancashire after a vicious dog attack near Cuerden Valley Park in Chorley.

 

 


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In Westbury, Wiltshire, farmer Owen Singer said he had been forced to warn dog owners any dogs seen attacking his flock would be killed.

 

He said he was ‘disgusted’ he had been forced to take such action, but added it was down to the behaviour of a few ‘ignorant and thoughtless’ owners.

 

Gloucestershire sheep farmer Kevin Harrison, whose sheep have been attacked several times, said he was waiting for police to attend his farm following an incident earlier this week.

 

He said: “We need to educate people about the seriousness of these attacks and show them the damage their dogs can cause to livestock.”

 

“It feels like I am banging my head on a brick wall sometimes.”

 

Farmers Guardian has been pushing for a Parliamentary discussion on dangerous dogs to include attacks on livestock.

 

Mr Harrison said this may go some way to having the issue debated in Parliament and raise the profile of FG’s Take the Lead campaign.

 

“If a dog is so badly trained that it runs off and doesn’t come back and the owner does not know what it is doing, then it could easily be attacking a human,” he said.

 

“We had one incident where a loose dog was attacking a sheep and a golfer nearby attempted to intervene and the dog then turned on him and started circling him with wide eyes. The man was frightened for his life.”

 


Farmers Guardian's Take the Lead campaign

Farmers Guardian's Take the Lead campaign

Farmers Guardian’s Take the Lead campaign was launched two years ago to educate the public about the impact of dog attacks on livestock.

 

FG's latest research shows attacks have continued to rise, with more than 2,000 attacks reported to police in the last two years.

 

The initiative, which urges people to keep their dogs on a lead when walking around farm animals, has been supported by leading farming and rural organisations including the National Sheep Association (NSA) and the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

 

More than 45,000 Take the Lead campaign signs warning walkers about the consequences of livestock worrying have been nailed to fence posts around Britain.

 

FG remains committed to driving down the number of incidents and we have been working with police to educate officers about the seriousness of the crime and its impact on farmers and the countryside.

 

The FG team is currently lobbying MPs to see the issue debated in Parliament and we are calling for tougher penalties for owners whose dogs harm livestock.

 

Getting our take the lead signs

Getting our take the lead signs

 

We have 1,000s of livestock worrying signs which you can nail to gateposts or fenceposts near footpaths to highlight the problem to walkers.

 

If you would like some of these signs, please send a stamped, self-addressed A4 envelope to

FG Take the Lead, Farmers Guardian,

Unit 4, Fulwood Business Park,

Preston, Lancashire,

PR2 9NZ.

 

You will need at least three First Class or Second Class stamps on to cover postage costs. We will be able send up to 25 signs.

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