Sheep mauled to death at Warton

The Westmorland Gazette: Robert Pennington Robert Pennington

A NORTH Lancashire farmer is in despair after yet another of his sheep was mauled to death by unleashed dogs.

Robert Pennington, of Greenbank Farm, Warton, has lost three of his sheep to dog attacks within the last month, and does not expect his Rhode Island Red cockerel, which was targeted along with his hens and ducks on Tuesday, to survive its injuries.

The farmer blamed ‘irresponsible dog owners’ for his losses. The pets, he claimed, were being left to ‘run amok’ in Hyning Scout Wood, which adjoins his land.

“Owners let their dogs off the lead in the wood and they jump the wall into my field. They have no idea where their dogs are. It is irresponsible.

“My sheep are now absolutely petrified after all the killing that has gone on,” he said.

Mr Pennington had sheep killed on November 4, and 11, and another on Sunday, all worth around £200 each.

He said: “It is not only the cost and the loss. The first sheep I found had been badly mauled and I had to shoot it because there was nothing else that could be done. It is the cruelty that the animals are suffering.”

Andy Sharkey, head of woodland management for The Woodland Trust, which owns the land, said he was very symp-athetic to Mr Pennington’s position.

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“We have only just been told about the incident, so I cannot comment until we have spoken to the farmer. But our site man-ager will talk to him,” he said.

He added that, along with carrying out wall repairs and placing rabbit netting, putting up posters was something that could be done to raise awareness of keeping dogs under control.

But Mr Pennington, who has put up signs in the past, said: “What annoys me is I put them up and they just get ripped up. If I approach people that have dogs running loose and ask politely for them to put them on a lead, I am more than likely to get threatened.

“I do not know what the ans-wer is, but I have to do someth-ing, otherwise I will have no livelihood here. It has got out of hand and dog owners need to be told.”

Just down the road at Warton Grange Farm, owner Paul Barker experienced similar problems last year.

He said: “It was one of the reasons I stopped having sheep – it was just a hassle. I lost three in one season because dogs were not on a lead.

“I also put up signs which were just taken down. The problem is there are so many public footpaths around here leading up to Warton Crag. I do feel for Robert because it is his mainstay.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said officers were aware of the latest incidents, and the neighbourhood policing team would be visiting Mr Pennington.

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