SADDLEWORTH RESIDENTS being urged to help protect livelihoods of local beleaguered sheep farmers in a major crackdown on marauding dogs and rustlers.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has blitzed the countryside and Pennine beauty spots with posters urging dog owners to keep their pets on leads.
And with the onset of lambing, GMP has asked country lovers to support farmers and keep watch for signs of attempted thefts from vulnerable flocks.
“At this time of year it is easier to steal ewes as they are heavy with lambs,” said a GMP spokesperson in an email alert to villagers.
“If you see anything suspicious near farm land or any vans parked up in field gateways you may not recognise, note the registration number and call 101.”
And they warned dog lovers that their pets could be killed if they worried sheep on farmland.
“The farmer is well within his rights to destroy the dog,” the police spokesperson declared.
“If you have a dog, or walk a dog, keep it on the lead at all times where sheep are kept or roam free. Letting dogs off the lead could cause a ewe to lose its young or be attacked.”
Darren Hough, who owns a 265-acre farm at Wharmton, is on full alert after callous attackers stole and killed more than 30 of his prize flock a year ago.
Darren is the third generation of Houghs to farm the hillside and he and his father, Bryan, are ever-conscious of the threats from roaming dogs which mauled a sheep recently.
“Everyone can play their part in keeping our flocks safe,” he declared.
Local NFU spokesman Matthew Gummerson revealed a dog killed a pregnant ewe after mingling with more than 40 in a flock.
“The dog caused undue stress which can result in death of the ewe or the unborn lambs,” he said.
“Despite the owner managing to get the dog out before any further animals were killed, this highlights the damage a loose dog can do.
“Sheep chased by a dog will often abort their lambs, wiping out 12 months of hard work. Dog walkers could bear this in mind in public access areas in particular places like Dovestones.”
For advice from GMP, contact the Saddleworth North team: 0161 856 8825.