THIS sprightly young ewe, left for dead by a marauding dog, has become the pride of a Saddleworth farmer’s flock.
Just after being born, the lamb was fighting for its life after a dreadful mauling when a renegade dog inflicted severe wounds to its neck.
Now, after seven months of patient, loving care, farmer Darren Hough who keeps a flock on land at Wharmton overlooking Uppermill, said proudly: “She’s the pride of the flock.
“I haven’t given her a name but she will be staying here as future breeding stock.
“She will retire here as I have lost my 15-year-old pet sheep this year so she can take her place. And hopefully good always follows bad.”
Mr Hough added the rider because just two days after hosting a mini summit between farmers and police another of his flock was gorged to death by a dog off a lead.
And after another sheep was killed days in the wake of the farming summit, farmers and police are studying fresh methods to protect flocks.
They are researching new spy in the sky drones that could soon be flying over Saddleworth’s hills to combat the rise in rural crime, a police chief revealed.
The hi-tech drones would be backed by off-road vehicles, offering an instant response to farmers and raising police profile.
Daniel Inglis, GMP district superintendent for Oldham, announced the proposal after the two-hour summit meeting with Saddleworth farmers, senior officials from the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth.
The MP organised the meeting following mounting concerns by worried farmers over wide-ranging problems which include thefts of vital quad, tractor and farm machinery.
There are also concerns about sheep worrying by unthinking dog owners and livestock thefts, as well as violent threats towards land owners and farmers, and farmhouse break-ins.
Supt Inglis said: “I was pleased to meet members of the farming community to improve the way we work together.”
Darren’s baby lamb was fighting for its life after being attacked by an out of control dog and a picture of the injured animal published on social media raised a wave of sympathy.
At the time farmer Darren, angry and frustrated by the attack which left two ewes dead and ten other sheep injured, said: “This dog has to be stopped – it might be a child next.”
He added: “A small percentage of the public will never adhere to being told or asked to do anything.
“I personally think we have a generation that thinks they are untouchable by rules, be it having barbecues, trespassing, riding mountain bikes on private land or refusing to put a lead on a dog.
“We have lost a number of sheep this year.
“Not all were animal attacks, some were due to the weather conditions that had made them weak and unable to fight off predators.”
The National Sheep Association (NSA) is focussing on this year’s agricultural events and shows to promote responsible dog ownership to reduce incidences of sheep worrying.
“We want to share a positive message about dog owners enjoying the beautiful landscapes in Britain, which are created by the hard work of sheep farmers, and to do so responsibly and consider the impact an attack can have on farmers business and livelihood,” they said.
• GMP Saddleworth and Lees has launched a Farm Watch scheme.
The scheme, in conjunction with National Farmers Union, aims to join up members of the Saddleworth farming community to build support, awareness and resilience against criminal threat.
It will include site visits and security assessments, installing trackers on equipment and keeping in regular contact via WhatsApp.
For more information or to get involved, contact GMP Saddleworth and Lees on Facebook.