Dog attacks on sheep ‘a growing menace’
M ore than 600 sheep were killed by dogs in the UK in the first three months of this year, highlighting a growing problem, says a campaign group.
The figures have been issued by SheepWatch UK, which was set up in February in response to the issue.
The organisation, which collates reports from farmers who have suffered losses, says the figures did not include unborn lambs or animals that had been severely injured.
March saw the worst sheepworrying incident in memory when 116 ewes died in a field near Chichester, West Sussex.
Reports from the NFU indicate that in 2015 more than 18,500 head of livestock were killed or injured in dog attacks costing farmers an estimated £1.1million.
Terena Plowright, one of the founders of SheepWatch UK, said dog walkers needed to be educated about the damage their dogs could do.
“Many dogs being walked along footpaths off the lead near sheep can suddenly become hunters when sheep run,” she said.
“People cannot believe their dogs can suddenly turn until it is too late. The other issue is gardens that are not properly fenced so the dog runs loose, again placing sheep in severe danger.”
SheepWatch is set to run a free public conference in June to look at different methods of tackling the problem.
A record of 1,294 has been set for entries in the sheep section for this year’s Royal Cornwall Show. The show takes place at the Royal Cornwall Showground at Wadebridge on June 9-11. Pictured here are sheep and a young handler at last year’s event.