Farmer’s rage as sheep die in dog attacks

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A farmer has expressed concern over the growing number of dog attacks that have left many of his sheep injured and even caused the death of a pregnant ewe.

Guy Beech, owner of a farm in Ovenden Wood, Halifax, claimed the problem has been ‘going on for years’ and it is now an ‘expected’ incident.

Mr Beech said dogs had also caused damage to fences and problems at neighbouring farms.

He said: “It’s usually early in the summer we expect it and once a dog has done it the first time, they know they can do it again.

“We are limited on what we can do and we don’t want to get used to it, but we have to.

“We’ve worked hard but we cannot keep watch all the time and it’s unfortunate, it shouldn’t happen.”

He said earlier this month one dog had chased his sheep, which caused a pregnant ewe to have a heart attack and die.

Mr Beech said: “You do get attached and of course there is the financial loss as well, I’d like to see more awareness brought to the problem, warning people of the dangers.”

Mr Beech said the problem did not lie with dogs but their owners - and he urged people to be more responsible, so pets did not get loose and cause problems for farm animals and farmers.

He said he was in the process of trying to find the owner of the dog which he said was responsible for the death of the pregnant ewe.

The National Farmer’s Union has also urged pet owners or dog walkers to take care - particularly during lambing season.

The NFUs livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe, said: “Now spring is here we tend to see an increase in the number of people out walking their dogs.

“But it’s important to remember that farms are working environments so please be aware of your surroundings.

“If you have a dog with you keep it close by your side, where there are cows and sheep put it on a short lead,” he added.