Farmer's plea for dogs on leads after 'worst' year of attacks
PUBLISHED: 12:20 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 07 March 2019
Dog walkers are being urged to keep their pets on leads after a record number of attacks on sheep at a Sidmouth farm.
These pictures show some of the injuries sustained to the Sage family’s flock over the last six months at their farm on Peak Hill, with one sheep dying from a heart attack after being pursued by a dog.
Ellis Sage says it is the worst year yet and the problem could worsen as the farm prepares for lambing season.
He says his family has tried approaching owners and putting up signs, which have been pulled down on multiple ocassions.
Mr Sage said: “They say the dogs are just playing with them.
“It’s not always the fact they are attacking them, there’s dogs that have chased these ewes and have put them under a bit of stress and they lose their lambs.
“They don’t understand the devastation it causes to our flock.
“When you walk down keep the dog on the lead, you are not in any danger of losing your dog. There are lots of places to let the dog run, all over Mutter’s Moor which is just behind the farm and let the dog run there.
“All we are asking is for the couple of hundred metres you walk through our field.”
Rural insurer NFU Mutual launched a campaign last week calling on dog owners to keep their pets under control as more than £1million of livestock has been attacked in the last four years.
The South West was the worst affected region of England by cost from 2015 to 2018.
Chris Roberts, NFU Mutual’s manager for the South West, said: “While it’s encouraging news that more people are putting their dog on the lead while out in the countryside, dog attacks are still at a very high level.
“Thousands of sheep are being killed and horribly mutilated by dogs and we will be redoubling our efforts to raise awareness of the issue, and helping police to bring owners of dogs which attack livestock to justice.”