A young farmer who has spent the past three years breeding sheep received a horrific phone call on Friday afternoon to tell him two dogs were attacking his flock.
Tom Hadley, 23, from Pencombe, received the bad news on Friday at 4pm that two dogs were attacking his flock of 56 weaned lambs in a field near Risbury. The lambs were on rented land and he immediately called the closest farmer to take a look at what was going on.
That farmer reported scenes of ‘a massacre’ to Tom who rushed to the scene with his shotgun. West Mercia Police also deployed around 20 armed officers with helicopter assistance to find the dogs.
“To have all my hard work wiped out in one afternoon is soul destroying”
Tom said: “When I got to the field I could see the two dogs chewing on one of my lambs. When they spotted me they came rushing to the gate. I shot one of them twice but it just got up and both of them ran to the woods. They had killed 31 lambs and left 14 injured. I can’t find the other 11. There were lambs running around with chunks of their face missing and we had to put them down. It was horrific to say the least.”
West Mercia Police confirmed they were called to reports of sheep worrying at a farm in Risbury, Leominster on Friday, September 2 2016.
The police said the incident is believed to have taken place between 12pm and 4.40pm.
A statement said: “A proactive investigation involving several specialist resources is currently underway to establish the circumstances that have led to the incident. Sadly, reports indicate that a large number of sheep had been attacked and killed by two dogs. Firearms officers were deployed to the scene as a matter of precaution.”
Mr Hadley estimates the cost of the attack at £10,000. A total of 19 Beltex Charollais cross tup lambs valued at £450 each were killed in the attack. There will also be additional veterinary costs to add on as well. It is believed the police have found and seized the two dogs involved in the attack.
“I am devastated,” said Tom. “I have worked hard over the past three years to breed a tup that I am proud of from the Beltex and Charollais breeds. To have all my hard work wiped out in one afternoon is soul destroying. I am insured, I just hope the dog owner is too!”
Inspector Daniel Pilkington of West Mercia Police added: “We would like to remind the public that it’s is an offence for a dog owner and anyone controlling the dog to allow it to worry livestock on agricultural land. If this happens, individuals may be prosecuted or fined and ordered to pay compensation.”
Under the Animals Act 1971 a farmer, landowner or anyone acting on their behalf has a legal right to shoot your dog to protect their property.
“We would like to remind dog owners to please keep their dog on a lead at all times but particularly where there is livestock in the area. West Mercia Police would like to advise the farming community that we take any reports of this nature very seriously and the Leominster Safer Neighbourhood Team will be increasing patrols in the area.”
“A 64-year-old man from Risbury, Leominster, has been arrested on suspicion of being the owner or person in charge of a dog that is dangerously out of control. He has been released on police bail until 16 October 2016.”