The owner of a farm shop has warned dog owners to keep their animals under control after one of his lambs was slaughtered by a dog on the Euston Estate at the weekend.
Chris Reeks, partner and owner of La Hogue Farm shop and cafe in Chippenham, posted a graphic picture of the lamb on Facebook to alert people to the impact of sheep worrying which he says is on the rise.
In the last two years Chris’s 1,000 strong flock, which grazes 1,200 acres at Euston, has suffered 12 attacks by out of control dogs.
The latest attack happened at the weekend. Two lambs were chased by a large dog and one was killed. The other animal is recovering.
Other attacks have seen three or four animals chased into the river and drowned while another incident saw three ewes and six lambs killed.
Chris has put up signs in the area near Fakenham Magna and Sapiston where footpaths cross open fields and the matter has been raised at parish council meetings.
He said: “Being the owner of dogs myself I am hugely in favour of open access to the countryside along footpaths and people and their dogs being allowed to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
“However I cannot comprehend why some dog owners are not responsible enough to keep their dogs on leads where they know livestock are.
“It’s not the dog’s fault, it’s the owner’s. People need to make sure their dogs are on a lead when there is livestock about.”
The National Sheepdog Association has reported that incidents are on the rise throughout the country.
Andrew Blenkiron, Cambs East and West Suffolk NFU branch chairman, said: “Despite constant reminders to dog walkers and a supposed greater understanding of the countryside it is exceptionally disappointing to find that dogs worrying sheep has increased significantly not only in our local area but in the country as a whole.
“It is very simple when walking a dog near livestock of any kind the dogs must be kept on a lead. It is only natural for dogs to want to chase things, please don’t let it be our livestock. We have recently had a number of cases of sheep maimed or killed and this is totally unacceptable.”