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Castle Bytham farmer calls for dogs to be kept on leads after sheep attacked



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A farmer whose sheep were attacked on two occasions this year wants dog owners to realise the harm their pets can cause in the countryside.

Richard Harris, who farms at Castle Bytham, witnessed one of his ewes being attacked earlier this year by two dogs that were off the lead.

During his animal’s suffering he was left with a dreadful decision to make.

Castle Bytham farmer Richard Harris with some of his sheep. Photo: Alan Walters
Castle Bytham farmer Richard Harris with some of his sheep. Photo: Alan Walters

“When I saw the dogs attacking the sheep I took out a gun with a view to shooting the dogs,” he said.

“But I couldn’t do it. I shot over the top of the dogs’ heads.”

The dogs’ owner, Jade Statt, 42, of Counthorpe Lane, Castle Bytham, was prosecuted and pleaded guilty at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court to owning a dog that had worried livestock. She was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and compensation to Mr Harris for the ewe and vet’s bills totalling £660.

Castle Bytham farmer Richard Harris with some of his sheep. Photo: Alan Walters
Castle Bytham farmer Richard Harris with some of his sheep. Photo: Alan Walters

Her dogs were not destroyed, but the ewe that bore the brunt of their attack had to be put down and her lambs were orphaned.

Mr Harris, who has 220 breeding ewes and some rams at Cabbage Hill Farm, wants people exercising dogs in the countryside to keep them on a lead.

“This wasn’t the only attack,” he said.

A second woman, Donna Glennard, 35, of Ash Close, Colsterworth, was sentenced at Lincoln Magistrates on September 23, just eight days after Statt. She also admitted owning a dog that worried livestock at Mr Harris’ farm.

Richard Harris has farmed for 30 years. Photo: Alan Walters
Richard Harris has farmed for 30 years. Photo: Alan Walters

Glennard was ordered to pay £250 court costs and £100 compensation to Mr Harris, who has farmed for 30 years.

Insp Gary Stewart of Lincolnshire Police said: “Worrying livestock is a crime we take seriously - and the great shame of these cases is that they could have been prevented easily.

“Dogs have instincts which can override their normally good behaviour, and this can make them unpredictable. By keeping a dog on a lead, even if it is tempted to chase and attack livestock, the owner can keep it under control.”

PC Martin Green, wildlife officer for Lincolnshire Police, added: "As a rural police officer, sadly I hear too often of people walking dogs in the countryside without care or consideration for either the wildlife or farm animals that the dogs end up chasing.

"I have seen too often the aftermath of what even a small dog can do to a sheep.

"I've also had to shoot animals that have been attacked and, likewise, be there when others have had to shoot them or put them to sleep, or treat them for horrible, needless injuries.

"I have returned dogs that have been shot to distraught owners.

"I am a dog lover but I would have no thought with regards the owners feelings if I had to be involved in the killing of a dog over the protection of livestock. The police will side with what is right.

"A person can shoot a dog that is worrying or ttacking sheep or other farm livestock. They don’t have to fire warning shots.

"A dog owner will have to face the consequences of the costs to the owner of the animals involved, the disposal of the dog's carcase, or veterinary treatment should it survive, and, of course, the subsequent court action.

"The courts can award a destruction order of the dog or dogs involved, if need be.

"I want people to enjoy our beautiful countryside but, at the same time, keep their dogs under close control. They need be on a lead, and most certainly on a lead when around wildlife or livestock."

Anyone who sees a dog running loose chasing livestock should obtain as much information as possible and report it to the police straight away.



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