Dog at­tacks on sheep ‘a grow­ing men­ace’

Country Smallholding - - July News -

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.

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