RSPCA calls for dogs to be kept on a leash after sheep die
The RSPCA is urging dog owners to always keep their pets on a leash near livestock after four sheep from the same flock died in recent months.
Two sheep have been shot and two others have died after being attacked by loose dogs in the Peak District, Derbyshire.
In the latest incident, a walker alerted the RSPCA to a sheep washed up on a high cliff in Hartington on January 2.
Read also: What to do if you are the victim of… sheep worries
Animal rescue worker Andy Sowden attended the scene and found the sheep trapped 10m below the cliff with a 30m below, so he called Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and asked for help.
Buxton firefighters and a specialist rescue unit from Alfreton attended the scene to assist the RSPCA in the rescue operation.
Crews used ropes and lifesaving equipment to lift the sheep off the ledge before releasing it to safety.
Mr Sowden said the farmer told him recently that a number of his sheep had fallen off the cliffs and died.
Either way, he believed the animals had been frightened by off-leash dogs and had fled in a panic and died.
The farmer said: ‘We were very lucky that this sheep fell over a ledge and thanks to the RSPCA and the fire brigade she was rescued and unharmed from her ordeal.
“In another recent case, a dog chased two sheep off a cliff and they died from a 30ft fall.
“The two had two lambs, who were so scared they ran away and we had trouble finding them. They then returned to their mothers’ corpses so we could save them.
“In another incident, a dog attacked two lambs who were seriously injured and unfortunately could not recover.
“We’ve had this issue for some time now and are concerned that it will get worse as more dog owners seem to be using this area.”
The farmer stressed that dog owners should put their dogs on a leash when around livestock and be responsible.
“We would like to see more signage put up in the area telling people how vital this is, especially as more and more people seem to be walking their dogs in this popular National Trust area,” he said. -he declares.
Mr Sowden added: “While the vast majority of people are careful, unfortunately accidents can happen and even the most docile and obedient dogs can become distracted and excited by grazing animals.
“Dog owners should remember that it is legal for farmers to shoot a dog to protect livestock, which would be distressing for everyone involved; and owners can face police prosecution if their dog is caught worrying livestock.
The National Sheep Association (NSA) has expressed frustration that despite sustained efforts to highlight the seriousness of disturbing sheep attacks on dogs, they continue to hear about devastating cases like this.
NSA Director General Phil Stocker said: “We would like to ask dog owners to please keep their dogs on a leash whenever there is a chance of livestock being nearby and to avoid walk near them if possible.
“You may not think of your dog as capable of chasing and attacking sheep, but this is an instinctual response that could endanger the lives of sheep, unborn lambs and even your own dog if caught attacking.”
RSPCA advice for owners walking dogs near sheep
The RSPCA has issued the following advice for dog owners to encourage responsible behavior when enjoying the campaign:
- Always check fields for cattle when walking your dog
- Always make sure to close the doors behind you
- In fields with livestock, it is essential that your dog is leashed and under control at all times. The only time you should release your dog is if chased by cattle. By restraining the dog in this circumstance, you put yourself at risk of being injured by livestock
- If your dog chases, scares, or attacks sheep, report it to the breeder even if there is no apparent injury, as the stress of dog worry can lead to sheep death and miscarriage pregnant ewes.
- If you live near livestock and have a dog, make sure your property and garden are secure so the animals cannot escape
- If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior, visit the RSPCA website to find a suitable behavior expert.