Kirkby Stephen farmer's horror at sheep attack

The Owen family with shepherd Alex Baines and one of the sheep at Sandwath Farm

The Owen family with shepherd Alex Baines and one of the sheep at Sandwath Farm

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

 A FARMER has told of the ‘shocking’ moments she found two of her sheep horrifically mauled to death by a dog.
 

Amanda Owen, 38, made the disturbing finds at Sandwath Farm, Kirkby Stephen, where she lives with her husband, Clive, 58, and her six young children.
 

She found the first sheep last week and uploaded a picture of its injuries to social networking site Twitter to highlight the problem of dogs roaming free in rural areas.

The picture shows one of the family’s Herdwick sheep with gruesome and fatal facial injuries.
 

“It was a horrible sight to wake up to — a  massive shock to me and my husband,” said Mrs Owen.


“There’s no doubt it was a dog that means business— it did some serious and pretty horrific damage.


“The owner must have realised something had happened judging by the amount of blood left on the field. I am also worried what it could do to my young children,” she said.


Yesterday she found a second dead sheep, which had also been attacked.


She has called on police to crack down on dogs being off their lead before the lambing season starts in spring.
 

“The police need to step up their efforts and quickly because lambing season is coming soon and in a few months we will have a lot of small, vulnerable, lambs on the farm.

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“Every day we are on tenterhooks thinking we are going to find another. It’s not the way to live.”


Adam Briggs, Nation-al Farmers’ Union spokesman, said: “People need to realise when they go into a field of animals it’s a working environment.
 

“It’s very frustrating that some dog owners seem to think they have exclusive rights to roam the countryside, especially this time of year when many lambs are pregnant. It’s a year’s work down the drain for most farmers.


“We don’t want to discourage people going to the countryside but we want dog owners to be responsible and keep their dogs under control.”


A spokesman from Cumbria Police said: “We recommend people sign up to Farm Watch, which provides a network allowing people to receive and post infor-mation about incidents in their area.
 

“We always encourage farmers to report incidents, which enab-les us to send out info-rmation to the farming community in order for them to check on livestock and look for suspicious activity.”

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