Farming News - Up to 70 sheep worth thousands of pounds found dead in a field

Up to 70 sheep worth thousands of pounds found dead in a field

20 Feb 2019
Frontdesk / Livestock

A Cumbrian farmer has lost thousands of pounds worth of livestock after up to 70 sheep were found dead in a field.

Police believe the deaths, which occurred in the Orton Road area of Dalston on Monday night last week, were caused by a sheep worrying incident.

PC Helen Branthwaite, Cumbria’s wildlife crime coordinator, said: “We take these incidents very seriously, Sheep Worrying is a criminal offence, as well as the injury and suffering inflicted upon the animals, it can cause huge financial cost to the farmer and ultimately lead to prosecution of the owner or person in control of the dog at the time.

“We urge people to take steps to keep their dogs under control near livestock, using a lead in areas near livestock and keeping a distance and only letting dogs off their lead in areas without livestock.”

Ian Bowness, the National Farmers Union North West deputy county chairman, who farms at Threapland Lees near Aspatria, said the total cost of the livestock lost could be between £10,500 and £15,000, depending on factors such as age and breed.

He told the Cumbrian News and Star “Dog walkers are reminded that even the most docile of pets can cause serious injury and death to livestock if they are not walked responsibly, particularly if that dog is not familiar with livestock.

“We are fortunate to have access to so much wonderful countryside in Cumbria and it is great that local people can enjoy this with their dogs.

“It is vital that dog owners are responsible around livestock and follow recommended guidance to help ensure that they can have fun and safe days out in the countryside with their pets, without disrupting the important work of sheep farmers, especially during the lambing season.”

The advice for walkers from the NFU is try to avoid getting between cows and their calves, move quickly and quietly - and if possible walk around the herd, and keep dogs close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep.

They added walkers should not hang on to their dog, not to put themselves at risk, and not to panic or run.

Last August, a farm union official called for police to bring more prosecutions in the fight to tackle livestock worrying in the county.

Keith Twentyman said they needed to see more police action over incidents of dog worrying on sheep and cattle.

The National Farmers Union Secretary, based in Carlisle, also urged farmers to report a crime which can wreak havoc on their livelihoods.

Mr Twentyman’s call came after dogs were blamed for a horrific attack on young cattle in a field at Whitrigg, near Ireby.

Anyone with information about the sheep worrying incident should call 101, quoting reference number 46 of February 15.