Friday, December 15, 2017

No let-up in dog attacks on sheep

July 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Livestock

Rose Holman sheep worrying Feb 17 3

Stray or unaccompanied dogs are responsible for carrying out 40% of attacks on sheep, reveal the results from latest National Sheep Association (NSA).

The survey taken part in by sheep farmers from across the UK shows no let-up in dog attacks which continue to blight sheep welfare, businesses and livelihoods. Some 40% of respondents said attacks they had witnessed were carried out by stray or unaccompanied dogs.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker says: “Domestic dogs attacking sheep is sadly an ongoing crime without an easy solution, but to keep talking about it and gathering evidence at every opportunity goes a long way in continuing to highlight the problem.

Police figures continue to highlight a rise in the number of reported dog attacks on sheep, but Mr Stocker said it was likely that the true extent of the problem was much higher. Just 40% of survey respondents said they reported every incident to the police.

Crime

Of these, just 18% and 17% of farmers said they were given a crime reference number or crime incident number as a result. Some 10% of respondents rated police response as ‘very helpful’, but an equal 10% rated it as ‘unresponsive’.

Mr Stocker said: “If we’re to build up an accurate picture of the true scale of the problem, it is vital that those who’ve experienced an attack on their livestock report it to the police and ask for a crime or incident number.

“We have to continue to put pressure on police forces to deal with this crime in a serious and consistent way and if they haven’t the resources to do that then we need to help them build evidence that they are not keeping up with reported crimes.”

Grisly

Leicestershire farmers Rose and Keith Holman, who have a flock of 100 mixed lowland breeds, recently found the grisly remains of five sheep strewn across four different fields and floating in ditches at Burton Overy.

Mr Holman said: “We found five sheep mutilated and killed by dogs, two further ones had to be put to sleep since and we had two more with nasty injuries to their faces and legs that needed veterinary treatment.”

Dog attacks cost sheep farmers £1.4m in 2016, according to rural insurer NFU Mutual. NFU county adviser Simon Fisher said: “Sheep worrying is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence for our farmers.

The NFU has reissued advice for farmers to be extra vigilant and check flocks regularly – and put up the yellow NFU warning signs that ask walkers to keep dogs under control at all times near livestock.

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