Dog attack leaves two sheep dead, five hurt

A FLOCK of rare breed sheep have been attacked by dogs in Suffolk.

A FLOCK of rare breed sheep have been attacked by dogs in Suffolk

Two of the rare Hebrideans had to be destroyed after being badly injured in today's attack.

Seven sheep out of a flock of twenty Hebrideans have been attacked by dogs on Sutton Heath, near Woodbridge. Two of the sheep were so badly injured and in such pain that they had to be shot; another remains in a critical condition, say Suffolk Wildlife Trust who owns the flock.

Stockperson Jane Barber explains: “I found them on Tuesday morning. It was a terrible sight; the sheep had suffered awful injuries to their necks and flanks. It looked like the attack involved two dogs.

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“Our signs clearly state that all dogs should be kept on leads - someone out there must know it was their animals that were responsible for the carnage.

“Apart from the upset caused to staff when dealing with this sort of incident, it is actually a criminal offence to allow your dog to be unleashed near livestock.

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“The aftermath of such traumas also incur substantial costs for a charity such as ours in terms of administering antibiotics and getting the animals put down and disposed of.”

The sheep were being used for conservation grazing in a small fenced off area of one hectare which is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its heathland wildlife. Signs are clearly displayed asking people to keep dogs on leads.

Under the Dogs and Protection of Livestock Act and the Animals Act, it is a criminal offence to allow dogs to attack livestock. It is also in breach of the CROW Act which stipulates that dogs must always be kept on lead on 'open land' (which includes heath) between March and the end of July in order to protect ground nesting birds. Dogs found attacking sheep can also be impounded by the local council and substantial fines imposed. The incident is now being followed up by the police.

Jane Barber says: “The consequences of this sort of thing are wide ranging. My own specially trained sheep dog now can't be used to round up the flock as the sheep have been so traumatised by the attack.

“It is also worth saying to the owner if they read this, that the dog that attacked our sheep will now, having tasted blood, be a danger to other livestock and wildlife.”

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