A DISTRAUGHT woman has highlighted farmers’ constant fears of vulnerable newly-born lambs being attacked by marauding dogs.
In just one day, 12 lambs were killed in a mindless attack by a dog at Fairbanks Farm, Diggle.
Angela Bloomfield helps on the farm which is managed by her partner Chris Crowther, whose respected family has a huge spread on moors surrounding Dovestone.
She was alerted to the carnage by one of Chris’s sons.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “The lambs were lying dead all over the field. It was hard to take in.”
The incident has been reported to police and Angela declared: “Some people are so pathetic. They just don’t believe leaving dogs off leads near livestock and birds is very dangerous.”
Chris said: “Dogs worrying a flock can separate lambs from their mothers and the frightened young ones can simply die through lack of nourishment.”
His concerns were underpinned by Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, a specialist organisation dedicated to safeguarding the interests and future of sheep farmers throughout the UK.
“Sheep worrying by dogs is a very serious problem year-roundbut even more devastating at this time of year with fields full of heavily pregnant ewes or ewes with young lambs,” he said.
“An attack on sheep can cause ewes to miscarry, lambs to become separated from their mothers, and of course, injury and even death.
“The NSA does not want to discourage dog owners from enjoying the beautiful landscapes – but do so responsibly and consider the impact an attack can have on farmers’ businesses and livelihood.”
The NSA launched an online campaign to highlight the sheep worrying issue and their communication officer Katie James said: “Social media is a proving to be an increasingly powerful tool used by many farmers to document terrible attacks on their animals.
“Our campaign witnessed thousands of people sharing this message with great effect.
“By working together livestock producers, dog walkers and anyone who enjoys our beautiful British countryside we can make steps towards an improved situation and see an increase in responsible dog ownership and ultimately a reduction in devastating attacks on sheep.”
In Dobcross, Gemma Moffat Jackman, wife of the parish curate, Rev Aaron Jackman, took to social media to highlight the problem.
She said: “I saw someone walking through Church Fields with their young dog off the lead. When they saw me they called it back then struggled to get it on the lead.
“My lambs are due – please, I cannot beg you all enough (and I know it’s not everyone) keep your dogs on leads.
“I already feel uncomfortable enough asking this because when I do I get slagged off — but come on people, at least at this time of year please.
“I have a tiny flock of sheep, if I lose even one ewe or lamb that is a lot to me.
“Last weekend someone’s (person was very apologetic) dog got in and had my cockerel on the floor by its neck and luckily I was there to get it off.”
Further details and information on dog worrying can be found online at: www.nationalsheep.org.uk