Dogs and sheep worrying – the endless battle
When, oh when are dog owners going to learn? How many pet dogs are being shot, with sheep and lambs dying or being savagely attacked because careless owners allow them to run loose around livestock?
Today I received an email from a friend who is now lambing and found two dogs tearing around the sheep this morning. The usual argument with the owner erupted, the ignorant “they wouldn’t hurt a fly” comment and the response of “I can legally shoot them you know”, to the horror of the owner. Why was the owner surprised by this news? Surely any responsible dog owner should know the consequence of allowing their dog to roam freely among livestock.
Dog owners are always so angry when they hear it is legal to shoot their dog if they worry sheep and yet no thought seems to be given to the aborted lambs or the savaged/dead sheep, that can often be the result of sheep worrying. What really makes my blood boil is to see the dog owner ranting and raving while waving a dog lead in the air. The solution is literally in their own hand.
One problem is that the dog owners often see their dog just running around the sheep and they are back at home sipping tea by the time the damage is done and the abortions begin. Others stroll along not even aware that their family pet is mauling and killing a sheep at the other side of the field.
The NFU supply signs and gruesome photos for farmers to display on footpaths and gateways, this site gives telephone numbers and email addresses to obtain them.
Think seriously about letting your dog off the lead near livestock, I doubt you would enjoy going home with just a dog lead. Remember that farmers move livestock from one field to another quite regularly, so check field are empty before you allow your dog to run freely on footpaths.
In National Parks livestock often roam freely and are not fenced in. National Parks are the most fabulous places to visit but please take time to learn about National Parks and how you should behave while spending time there.
Your dog may normally be gentle and calm but put it among sheep and natural instinct will kick in, the sheep will run and the dog will run after them. The dog doesn’t have to touch a sheep to cause damage. Be a responsible dog owner, always use a lead around livestock, during lambing time find somewhere away from sheep to walk your dog and never assume your dog is not a threat to livestock. This will keep you, your dog, the farmer and his stock happy and healthy.