TWO local sheep farmers are appealing for dog owners to keep their dogs under control after two of their sheep had to be put down after a dog attack.
Last Wednesday Owen Singer and Nathan Eyre of Penleigh Farm in Dilton Marsh were horrified to find that three of their lambs had been attacked by dogs overnight and after a vet’s assessment, two of the lambs had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries.
The farmers have also heard reports of dogs terrorising both people and other animals in the area and are appealing for dog owners to make sure they keep their dogs on a lead when out and about, and to make sure their dogs do not run loose from home.
Unfortunately, it is not the first time the farmers have had problems, as this attack follows an incident in February last year when 10 of their lambs were killed by a dog and a further four had to be put down following the attack.
Owen said, “We’re lambing at the moment, and we’ve just had three of the larger lambs attacked by a couple of dogs. Two had to be put down because their injuries were so severe, and our remaining ones are terrified. We’re all pretty upset about this.”
The breed of sheep that the farmers own allows them to continue lambing in the autumn.
Owen said, “We’ve got large lambs and we’re also lambing at the moment, so we’ve got small lambs and pregnant lambs. With the stressed lambs it’s a quality of meat issue. On the other side we’ve got pregnant lambs and the stress can bring on early lambing or cause the sheep to abort. Some of the lambs stop eating. It messes up everything.
“Short of sitting out there all the time, it’s very difficult for us to do anything to protect our sheep. The fields are fenced so the dogs would have had to be off the lead and loose in the first place, and would have to have jumped over the fence.
“The police inform us we are within our rights to shoot a dog worrying our sheep, but that’s not something we want to do. I’ve got three dogs myself so it’s not like I’m a dog hater.
“Most dog owners are brilliant and keep their dogs on a lead and if they see a sheep lambing, they come and tell us. The big message is to make sure people are in control of their dogs while they are out and that their dogs are secured at all times.”
PC Darren Foulger, rural beat manager said, “Enquiries are ongoing and it would appear there are a couple of dogs that have been getting out and running around the village and we will be making contact with that owner. We are working with the RSPCA to educate owners on taking responsibility for their dogs.
“If people have a dog it is their responsibility to keep it under control. I’d like to appeal to dog walkers and owners that if they’re going to walk near livestock they have to have their dog on a lead and under control.
“We’d also like to appeal for any witnesses who might have seen these dogs.”
The attack follows the killing of two sheep in a field just outside Bratton earlier this month, where injuries indicated that dogs could have been responsible for the killing.