Tue, 12 Sept 2017
A KINGSCLERE sheep farmer says he is “irritated and angry” that another of his flock has been injured by a dog being walked off its lead, less than three months after 26 of his lambs were killed in a savage attack.
The most recent attack, on Thursday last week, badly hurt an older ewe who was sheltering in the woods in the stock-fenced field on the estate.
Although the sheep survived the attack, the bite ripped through the muscles and tendons of its rear leg, exposing the bone.
Sheep farmer James Edwards said: “My other half went to look on the sheep on the estate in Kingsclere, and was passed entering the field by a young lad in his early 20s leaving with a black dog under his arm.
“She thought it was a bit weird, but didn’t think anything of it until she found the sheep.
“There were seven or eight sheep hanging around the woods and she found one just inside the woods.
“It had just been attacked and was in shock.”
Mr Edwards’ flock was subjected to a vicious attack in May, when 26 one-week-old lambs were slaughtered by a domestic dog in a field in Baughurst.
The latest attack is the seventh domestic dog attack on Mr Edwards’ sheep this year.
He said: “The new benchmark is the major incident in May, and I find myself saying ‘at least it’s not that bad’ or ‘at least only one was attacked’, but to be honest even one sheep shouldn’t be acceptable.
“But in relation to the attack earlier this year it’s not as bad.
“I am beginning to find it really irritating and tedious. I get really angry.
“Most dog walkers are fine and respectable, but there are some people who don’t have a clue or don’t think when there aresheep around.
“There are signs asking for dogs to be kept on leads, but if people don’t immediately see the sheep they think it’s okay to let the dog off the lead.
“Sometimes the sheep are sheltering in the woods or under the hedges.”
Mr Edwards said the sheep hurt in last Thursday’s attack may not survive owing to the severity of the injury, but even if she does, she may not be able to walk on her injured leg.
Mr Edwards, however, is reluctant to put her down.
“She has had a bad enough day as it is,” he said.
“We’ve got a paddock, which we use as our version of the NHS.
“We’ve always got room for a few passengers there."