Farmers’ fury at increase in dog attacks on sheep

Mauled sheep from Lychpole Farm, Sompting
Mauled sheep from Lychpole Farm, Sompting

A SHEEP farmer whose flock has suffered several dog attacks this year has called for owners to keep their pets on leads when around livestock.

Tenant farmers David and Caroline Harriott of Lychpole Farm, Sompting, have demanded action following the latest attack, in which one of their lambs was badly mauled.

Stock man James Puttick later treated the animal’s injuries.

“It has many puncture wounds round its face and neck and one ear has been ripped off,” he said.

“Hopefully it will recover but it is traumatised and may get a secondary infection from its wounds.”

According to Mrs Harriott, attacks on her flock are becoming more frequent.

“There are continuing attacks happening at Lychpole Farm.

“Sometimes we have managed to catch the dog but other times we just find a mauled sheep with half its head and ear missing,” she said.

“It’s awful to go out in the morning to your sheep and find things like that on a frequent basis.”

Mrs Harriott said there had been at least half a dozen attacks this year.

“Somebody must know it’s their dog,” she said.

“A dog must have come back covered in blood.

“People think because they are on a footpath they can let their dog off the lead.”

Mrs Harriott said dogs often chased sheep thinking it was a game, and that sometimes a ‘natural killing instinct’ kicked in, with disastrous consequences.

On two occasions this year, after chasing up the incidents with police, the farmers have received compensation from the dogs’ owners.

“Compensation doesn’t cover for the trauma to the rest of the sheep and to ourselves,” she said.

“You expect things to go wrong but not when it’s down to someone else’s lack of care with their animals.

“This was just the last straw.

“Nobody was there to say I’m sorry.

“We are all very angry about it. There are irresponsible people out there with pets which are supposed to be their responsibility.”

Farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs that get in among the sheep, but Mrs Harriott said she did not want to have to take that course of action, but could soon be left with no choice.

“In future, if it carries on, we will have to,” she said. “It’s our livelihood,”

Mrs Harriott is calling for dog owners to be educated about the risks of allowing their animals off the lead, and is considering putting up pictures of the injured animals on her land to highlight the danger.