Farmer lost 40 sheep in deadly attack by a dog

News letters on newspapers
News letters on newspapers

After a Tandragee farmer had almost 40 sheep killed last week by a single dog, another local farmer revealed the distress of such attacks.

Portadown man Mark Robinson farms Ile De France sheep and their flock has been attacked three times in the past year by dogs and a number of their sheep have been killed.

“The first time it happened, our ewes were in lamb and when it came to lambing, it threw them all off,” Mr Robinson said.

“Some of them lambed early and some of them lost lambs and we lost a number of ewes.”

He said once dogs get a taste of sheep worrying it is very hard to get them 
to stop.

Mr Robinson said the second attack also left the flock worried, but it was the third, most recent attack, that caused the most damage.

A dog entered the Robinsons’ field and started attacking the sheep. A number were killed, but one, called Lily, survived.

“The dog mauled her on the neck and tore her whole neck open,” Mr Robinson said.

“We had to take her up to the house and put her on antibiotics and treat her for a long time before we could put her back out again.

“The sheep stayed at the top of the field all the time because there was a house nearby and they felt safer and it took a long period of time before they would start to wander around the field again.

“Lily has come round, but unfortunately because of the scars we will never be able to show this sheep.”

Figures revealed recently show sheep worrying has doubled and Mr Robinson said he was not surprised.

Mark’s wife Samantha said she was angry when she discovered the flock had been attacked again.

“It’s devastating. It’s soul-destroying to go out and see your sheep maimed and upset and in the ditch,” she said.

“It’s the fear of wondering how many are dead, lost or maimed and then it’s the financial worry after that.

“It’s sad to see something that you have worked very hard to get to show quality and then to see it killed.”

The number of attacks is likely to be a lot higher as it’s understood there were 40 attacks in the Armagh area alone in 2013 and 17 already in 2014.

The figures from the police were obtained via a freedom of information request for the Take the Lead campaign that was organised by the National Sheep Association and the Farmers 

Edward Adamson, the Northern Ireland manager of the National Sheep Association, said dog owners had to be more responsible.

Mr Adamson said when sheep worrying occurs there can be “horrific results”.

“Some dogs, when they are loose, they are just out for a race and run round, but once they go into a field of sheep the sheep get spooked and they start to run.

“The dog being a dog will start to chase and they can chase them into corners and just pile in and tear lumps out of them”.

Mr Adamson encouraged farmers to report incidents to the police.

He warned dog owners that farmers had the right to shoot any dog caught worrying their sheep and that owners could also be liable to pay for damages.