12:01pm Friday 17th January 2014
A FARMER in Steynton is pleading with dog walkers to keep pets on a lead after one of his sheep was brutally attacked and another seriously injured.
Gareth Newing, who keeps a smallholding near the Mount Woods, also lost several chickens in the attack, which happened at around 1pm on Wednesday, January 8.
The sheep – which was pregnant with twins – had flesh torn from its face, its tail and ears ripped off, and chunks taken out of it, and had to be put down as a result.
Another ewe was left severely injured, with one ear ripped off and another left hanging on by a thread.
Mr Newing said the dogs responsible for the attack were Staffordshire bull terriers or a similar breed.
He said the animals were first spotted attacking chickens in his garden, but after being disturbed they moved into a nearby field, where his flock of 20 sheep is kept.
Mr Newing is concerned about how the stress of the attack will impact on the rest of his sheep, all of which are pregnant.
“Sheep are inherently petrified of dogs,” he said. “I could potentially have lost all of this year’s lambs.”
The cost implications if his flock miscarries are also high, with Mr Newing usually earning around £70 for each lamb. This is on top of the thousands of pounds Mr Newing feels he now needs to spend on reinforcing the perimeter of his land to prevent future attacks.
He added that, as the area is near to a public footpath, the dogs could easily have targeted a child.
“If there are dogs running around wild without a lead, that’s a danger to humans too,” said Mr Newing.
“The only real solution is for people to be responsible and keep their dogs on a lead.”
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