A LIVESTOCK owner has criticised ‘irresponsible’ dog-owners after one of her sheep had to be put down following a savage dog attack.
On Monday two dogs strayed into a private grazing field in Heyshott.
Some 16 pedigree Shetland sheep owned by Erica Bell came under attack when they were conservation grazing, helping introduce wild flowers into a grass meadow. The dogs, a boxer and a Boston terrier, severely injured one of the sheep – causing several punctures to its neck, lacerating its trachea and breaking its nose.
The vet had to put it to sleep as there was nothing that could be done for its ‘horrific injuries’.
“With only two months to go until she was due to lamb, this is such a loss for us,” said Erica.
“How is it fair that we can lose such a lovely animal?
“You hear about irresponsible people letting their dogs off leads on walks, allowing them to worry livestock, but we thought we were safe, choosing a private, no public right of way field for the sheep to safely graze in.
“The attack occurred due to the owners leaving their dogs unattended with access to the garden, in which they can escape, while they went out. They say the animals are family pets, but if they can cause such terrible injuries to sheep, what can they do to children or adults?
“When dogs are left free to escape and stray, what do the owners expect? If they have never done anything like this before, it doesn’t mean they will not do it if given the opportunity. Dogs should be well trained and kept under control – it is the owner’s responsibility.”
Under the provisions of The Dogs (protection of livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries livestock on any agricultural land, the owner will be guilty of an offence. “The fact the owners have said they will pay the vet bill does not mean the attack is justified,” added Erica.
“Their dogs were out of control and dangerous. If the dogs were not caught by people who saw the attack, what further injuries would they have caused?”