FARMERS in South Lakeland and Eden have blasted dog owners for not keeping their pets under control following a series of lamb and sheep attacks.
Fourteen lambs were killed during a ‘vicious’ attack by a dog in Grange-over-Sands. And more sheep and lambs were wounded during the incident at High Farm, near Eggerslack Woods, on Thursday and Friday.
Farmer James Whitton said he was ‘disgusted’ by the attack. He is calling for new laws which would see dog owners having to get a licence.
“Farmers have to go through all sorts of paperwork to keep animals but anyone can get a big dog that runs around and kills,” said Mr Whitton. “This incident cost nearly £2,000 in vet bills and losses but I’m not worried about the money, I’m more worried about the sheep that have been ruined.”
Last month David Clarke lost 20 lambs in two attacks at his farm at Underbarrow. An additional 18 lambs had to be treated for serious bites, three of which subsequently died.
In another dog worrying incident two Swaledale ewes had to be put down at a farm near Upper Eden Rugby Club, in Kirkby Stephen, between Saturday and Monday (April 7 and 9). Both ewes had lambs which were not injured.
Two more ewes were attacked between March 18 to 22 at another farm in Kirkby Stephen with only one of the ewes surviving.
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, said he was alarmed at the level of incidents. “Sheep worrying is slightly worst in spring as there are more ewes and lambs in the field,” said Mr Stocker. “But it is a year-long problem which certainly does not go away. It is a problem that is occurring more and more.”
Chairman of Cumbria NFU Alan Dickson, based in Penrith, said he was concerned by the growing trend.
“It’s distressing for the farmer and their animals,” he said. “The farmer is within their rights to shoot the dog if they find it worrying their sheep. So it is a sad story all round. Owners need to make sure they know where their dog is and that it is under control.”
A Cumbria Police spokesperson warned people that owners of dogs not on a lead or under control could be prosecuted. He said: “We have been told that some people park up in the woods (in Grange) and let their dogs run around while the owner stays in the vehicle. This is not having the dog under control and the owner will be dealt with accordingly.”
Anyone with information about the incidents should call 101 and ask for Ulverston police.