14 sheep killed on railway line after being chased on to tracks by dog
- Credit: Becki Spry
Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets on a lead when walking in areas where sheep are grazing after 14 ewes died along the railway line near Tuddenham.
Around 30 sheep were chased by a dog in a field on December 29, and in their attempts to escape they climbed up a bank onto the railway line.
A train travelling on the East Suffolk Line between Ipswich and Lowestoft sady collided with the sheep and 13 were killed. A 14th ewe died on Monday from injuries sustained in the incident.
Farmer Becki Spry, whose sheep graze at Fynn Valley near Tuddenham, described the scene as "carnage".
She said: "It's becoming a massive issue; we've lost 30 sheep over the last two years because of dog attacks, basically.
"We're trying to make people realise that any dog will do it; we had a chocolate lab last year kill a load of two-week-old lambs.
"Sheep have a natural instinct to run away from dogs, but this particular group have been chased and cornered against a gate. There was no railway line fence so that's how they've gone up the bank and onto the railway line because that was the only way out."
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The farmer continued: "The dogs are running around, we see it all the time, there'll be dogs come in the field and there's no owner in sight. They don't seem to realise how far ahead their dog's going. And as soon as they spot a sheep in a field most dogs will want to go and have a look and then the sheep run and it's exciting.
"It's pure owner ignorance. It's a completely avoidable situation; all they have to do is have that dog on the lead. The dog running up and down the fence line is enough to scare the sheep, even that is classed as livestock worrying, so we can still report that to the police."
Becki fears the surviving ewes could also be effected by the incident, and fears many may now miscarry the lambs they are carrying.
"The stress of being chased means there's now a high chance that the rest of my ewes are going to abort now.
"It's not just the financial impact though; I now can't work my dog with them because as soon as they see a dog they just scatter across the field to get away. It makes it hard for me to catch and work with them."