DOG WALKERS are being warned to keep their pets on leads after a sheep was left with horrific injuries at West Dean.
The attack is thought to have happened between Friday afternoon, December 4 and Saturday, December 5 at Farbridge, Karova Farms
The ewe which was grazing at Farbridge was found by commercial sheep farmer Gordon Wyeth and may have to be put down after the attack.
There was a second attack yesterday (Sunday, December 6) when Mr Wyeth witnessed a jogger on the bridleway between Farbridge and the Trundle whose dog was repeatedly chasing his sheep.
Mr Wyeth yelled at the runner who eventually put the dog on a lead but he was not close enough to identify them.
He has now warned he will shoot the next dog he finds chasing his sheep.
NFU Adviser Sandra Nichols said: “This is a critical time in the sheep farming year as ewes are mating with the ram to produce lambs for next spring.
“We’re urging all dog walkers to keep their dog on a short lead while in the countryside now and over the festive period, as there may be farm animals grazing just around the corner.
“A dog attack on livestock can end in tragedy both for the farmer and for the dog owner as the law allows farmers to shoot dogs that are worrying livestock.
Sandra added: “Anyone who witnesses a dog attack on livestock should report it to the police and to the farmer, where possible.
“The 101 police telephone number is appropriate if you are passing information on after the event,” added Sandra.
Hampshire based Mr Wyeth who runs 1,500 sheep around West Dean, said: “I will shoot the next dog I find chasing my sheep.
“Dog walkers may think a pet is just having fun chasing sheep - it has massive consequences for animal welfare. Ewes are easily frightened and suffer early abortions, losing their unborn lambs if chased at this time of year.”
If a dog worries livestock, the dog owner or the person responsible for the animal at the time is guilty of an offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and may be sued for compensation.
Earlier this year the NFU joined with the Kennel Club to launch some new warning signs for farmers to display beside public rights of way reinforcing the year-round need to keep dogs on leads.
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