Dogs kill sheep in 'horrific' sheep worrying attacks

The Chapman family
Image caption Caroline and Jim Chapman said finding the dead and injured sheep was devastating

Eleven sheep have been killed by dogs in what has been described as a "horrific" example of sheep worrying.

Seven were killed during the attack and four had to be euthanized because they were beyond treatment.

A further 15 sheep needed veterinary treatment following the incident in Lincolnshire on Friday.

Caroline and Jim Chapman, who own the farm near Saltfleetby where it happened, said finding the dead and injured sheep was devastating.

Lincolnshire Police believes two dogs were responsible and said the incident was under investigation.

Mrs Chapman said: "It's not something that we will ever forget.

"Of the 29 that we had to start with in the field we've only had three that have been unaffected."

All of the sheep were pregnant.

Mr Chapman said: "It will be an absolute miracle if they all lamb without any problems at all, and if they all carry the lambs full-term now."

Jonathan Brant, who farms in Lincolnshire and is regional board chairman for the National Farmers Union in the East Midlands, said sheep worrying was becoming more frequent.

"There are more people moving out from the cities into the countryside, and obviously there's more dogs as well," he said.

"I went to see the incident early on Saturday morning and I've never witnessed anything quite so horrific really.

He hopes this "very tragic accident" will make other dog owners take more care.

"It's just common sense," he said.

"Do not let your dog off a lead when you are in a field of sheep and cattle. Just don't do it. You are asking for trouble."

Sheep worrying

  • It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep, which includes attacking or chasing them.
  • In some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep.
  • Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to sheep, even if the dog does not catch them.
  • The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.

Source: National Sheep Association

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