Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Police warnings to dog owners after sheep attacks

Police are asking dog owners to take responsibility for their pets after a number of sheep attacks in Silverdale and Warton - to the dismay of local farmers.

Several farmers in the area have reported dogs running lose in the countryside and attacking their sheep and lambs.

Legislation states that if a dog attacks - or in some circumstances even chases – livestock, it the owner of the canine who will be held responsible and liable for prosecution.

 "Even if your dog has never shown an interest in sheep, it doesn't mean that it is safe to walk it off a lead," says Constable Tony Marsh, Community Beat Manager for Morecambe.

"I have had reports of usually placid dogs seeing sheep and suddenly attacking them in a frenzied manner.

"This is costing farmers dearly with months of hard-work and preparation being destroyed in just a few minutes. We have had a number of complaints and we can assure our farming community that any dog owners found to have allowed their pets to attack livestock will be dealt with in accordance with the law."

One farmer whose business has been damaged by dog attacks is Robert Pennington of Greenbank Farm in Warton.

"I have been a farmer on this land for around four decades and this is the worst year I have seen for a long-time with seven of my sheep having been killed so far," he said.  "Not only are the dogs killing sheep, but they are also chasing pregnant ewes which is causing the miscarriage of lambs followed by the death of the mother."

"I realise that people want to walk their dogs in our countryside, but these attacks are costing my business dearly so please take responsibility for your pets."

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