Dogs on lead plea after 14 sheep die near Tavistock

By Sarah Pitt   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 6th August 2022 6:00 am
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Some of the sheep killed in farmers’ fields on the outskirts of Tavistock ()

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Police have issued a fresh appeal to dog owners to keep their dogs under control, after releasing photographs of a savage attack by a dog on 14 sheep on farmland near Tavistock.

PCSO Kevin Williams, who is based at Tavistock Police Station, said the attacks had occurred in fields on the fringes of the town. He said such attacks had a devastating effect on the farmers.

‘Farmers spend decades selecting and breeding stock to be as profitable and trouble free as possible and it is heart breaking for them to lose stock in this way,’ he said.

‘All dogs can cause serious injuries and we urge you take every precaution to ensure livestock is protected. We apologise for the graphic photographs but urge you to think how the farmer felt driving around his field collecting dead and dying animals.’

Attacks on livestock by dogs is a perennial problem on Dartmoor.

In February, farmer Ann Cole spoke out after four of her sheep were killed on common land at Roborough Down, on moorland close to Long Ash Garden Centre near Yelverton. The sheep were heavily in lamb at the time. She put up notices calling for more information on the attacks, which she decribed as ‘horrific’.

As a farmer with commoners’ rights on the moor, she lives some miles away from her livestock, visiting each morning to check on their welfare. She was particularly distressed as her sheep must have bled to death. Speaking back in February, Ann said that in all the cases she had called the vet out to her sheep, but they were too badly injured to save.

She said: ‘I think it must all be the same dog because it is very consistent, the way they are being killed. These sheep that are being killed are in lamb so it is mot just one sheep we are losing, it is two or even three. The owners must know because the sheep are coming back covered in blood.’

In the same month, farmer Tom Havill, of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, reported losing 40 sheep in dog attacks on the surrounding moorland, including Bellever.

He said the sheep all had fatal wounds to their necks or front legs, different from previous injuries sustained by his livestock. ‘It looked like these dogs knew what to do, as if they had been trained to kill,’ he said.

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