A SHROPSHIRE couple have launched an emotional plea to dog owners after two of their rare breed lambs were ’chased to death’.
Catherine and Robert Humphreys say the problem of dog worrying is getting worse after losing two Soay lambs.
Adult ewes in the flock are also showing signs of severe stress, suggesting they were also chased.
Mrs Humphries who, with her husband, runs the farm between between Chapel Lawn and New Invention, said the lambs were "run to death" by at least one of three dogs belonging to a group of walkers "supposedly following a footpath through farm land."
She told the Shropshire Star: "It seems that the walkers were in a guided group, with three dogs, all off leads.
"Before they entered the field they had walked along a separate path beside it, so should have seen the new lambs with their ewes. The walkers reportedly returned in high spirits to their cars, although one was sufficiently concerned to ask a local person who owned the sheep.
"I later heard the ewes calling and found the dead lambs. Both the bereaved ewes were distraught. The breed are devoted mothers."
"These are an ancient ancestral breed which is ‘at risk’ of extinction. They are very hardy, so a dog would be likely to have been out of control for some time chasing the lambs before they collapsed."
She said there were increasing numbers of walkers who did not keep their dogs on leads and gates were sometimes left open too.
"Of course using a public footpath is a right but with a right goes responsibility. Straying from the footpath is not a right, however.
"Guides have a clear duty to educate their groups in appropriate behaviour in the countryside. Unfortunately this did not happen in this case.
"If such visits do not help to develop appreciation of and respect for other creatures they are not fulfilling a key purpose. It's a sad story from which it is hoped others might learn," she said.