Sheep killed by dog allowed to roam off lead

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A farmer has pleaded with people to keep their dogs on a lead after a pregnant sheep was mauled to death and another nursing ewe left fighting for her life.

This week Joseph Gurney is bottle feeding two traumatised lambs whose mum was left with horrific wounds in an attack on Tuesday morning.

“The dog bit a chunk the size of a tennis ball out of her leg, right down to the bone, and also left bite marks all along her ribs.

“You can see where it forced her into the hedge and pinned her down,” he said.

Mr Gurney’s field backs on to Oxley Park and he believes the dog owner simply let the animal out to run free on his land.

“There are clear signs asking for dogs to be kept on leads, but some people ignore them. I don’t think they realise the damage dogs can do when they chase a field full of sheep. Once a dog gets get a taste, it will not stop,” he said.

Last month Mr Gurney found one of his pregnant sheep dead in the field after a particularly savage attack.

“She was covered in bite marks. We’d already scanned her and she was expecting two lambs. It was a horrible emotional and financial blow to us.”

A public footpath runs through Mr Gurney’s field, which is part of Hall Farm.

“We don’t mind people using the footpath at all. We’re pleased they can go out in the countryside and enjoy the sight of a field full of sheep and new lambs,” he said.

“All we ask is that they are responsible and keep their dogs firmly on leads.”

Mr Gurney has reported both incidents to the police who are working to trace the dog owner. If convicted, he or she could be fined up to £1,000. Farmers also have the legal right to shoot a dog if they catch it harming sheep.