Fatal loose dog attack leaves sheep farmer footing £2,000 bill

Most rural crime police teams across the UK have reported an increase in dog attacks on sheep over recent years
Most rural crime police teams across the UK have reported an increase in dog attacks on sheep over recent years

A loose dog which attacked and killed four ewes has left one Derbyshire farmer having to foot the cost of the crime, amounting to almost £2,000.

Between 15 and 16 April, the farmer found that four of his ewes had been killed by a dog on his land at Hardy Barn Lane, Buxton.

Speaking about the incident, Derbyshire Rural Crime Team said the dead ewes cost around £1,200 plus £40 each for disposal.

The ewes had six lambs between them, one of which has now also died and the others are having to be hand reared on milk formula at a cost of £50 per week per lamb.

The incident has led to a total of almost £2,000 damages to this farmer, not considering his time and potential future earnings.

Derbyshire Rural Crime Team said: "The impact of livestock worrying offences cannot be under estimated, with significant financial losses along the stress and upset caused to farmers and their families.

"The area is popular for visitors and dog walkers and particularly popular with private dog walking companies operating in the Buxton area."

Dog attacks on sheep continue to plight farmers across the UK, impacting both animal welfare and farmers' mental wellbeing.

According to the National Sheep Association, 78% of rural crime police teams have reported an increase in dog attacks on sheep over recent years.

The majority (76%) of the forces reported that they respond to dog incidents at least once a month, with 33% of them dealing with incidents on a weekly basis.

And just over half of the forces contributing to the survey (57%) stated that sheep worrying by dogs was their most frequently reported rural crime.

The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs, while sheep fleeing from dogs are often killed or seriously injured by their panicked attempts to escape.

Dog bites can cause death in sheep or necessitate them being put down at a later date, or in less severe cases considerable veterinary bills and additional welfare issues.

Sheep worrying by dogs can cause serious damage to farmer mental wellbeing, the NSA explained in its campaign.

The body's chief executive, Phil Stocker said there should be a 'true deterrent' to those who continue to ignore the recommendations to keep dogs on leads near livestock.

He said: “We know that cases continue to rise, however, only a fraction of those do actually get reported to the police due to farmers believing there may be little this action can do.

"But NSA urges farmers to report all attacks as we continue to strive to reveal the true alarming level of this problem.

"Only then can we hope for much needed legislation to be brought about that punishes those responsible for these crimes appropriately."

Derbyshire Rural Crime Team is appealing for any information regarding the incident in Buxton.

"Hopefully this post will act as a stark reminder to put your dog on a lead if near to or likely to come into to contact with livestock," the team added.

"Please get in touch via the usual means, FB Messenger or Crimestoppers quoting crime number 24000238188."