Family condemns dog owners after lethal attack on sheep

Caroline and Jim Chapman, pictured with their six-year-old daughter Emily, say they have been left devastated by the loss. EMN-150216-122514001
Caroline and Jim Chapman, pictured with their six-year-old daughter Emily, say they have been left devastated by the loss. EMN-150216-122514001

A farming family in Saltfleetby has described scenes of “chaos” after two loose dogs viciously attacked their flock of sheep, killing 11 and injuring 15 more.

Caroline Chapman, who owns a farm in Main Street with her husband Jim, told the Leader that they were alerted to the situation after receiving a call on Friday evening, saying that one of their sheep had been killed on the road.

Sheep after the dog attack. EMN-150216-124303001

Sheep after the dog attack. EMN-150216-124303001

They rushed to their field only to discover a scene of devastation, as two loose dogs had managed to get in and were viciously attacking the livestock within.

The onslaught on the flock of 29 sheep ending up leaving seven dead, with a further four needing to be put down the following day.

A further 15 sheep were injured and required veterinary treatment - only three sheep from the flock managed to escape without serious injury.

The sheep are only five weeks from lambing, but due to the fright and stress endured by the flock it is likely that lambs will be lost too.

Caroline said: “Aside from our financial loss, there is an emotional loss too - these innocent animals have lost their lives and they are irreplaceable.

“This flock has been homebred over the last two years. We’ve selected them as they’ve grown up and kept them for a reason, and we cannot simply replace them.

“No farmer wants their field of sheep to be disturbed, especially when lambing. This is a farmer’s worst nightmare.”

Eventually, Caroline and Jim were able to catch one 
of the dogs, which was wearing a collar, and located the owner.

Caroline said: “The owners said they were sorry and seemed very apologetic, but that doesn’t make up for it.

“We feel that these dogs will now have to be destroyed, as they get a taste for it.

“This case will also have to be pursued legally - somebody has to be held accountable. We did our bit by keeping our flock as secure as possible, but we’ve suffered a financial loss including the vet’s bills.

“If I could give advice to dog owners, it would be: please keep your dogs under control and be aware of the livestock nearby. If you need to go near livestock then please always keep your dogs on a lead.

“Do not assume that your dog won’t attack, as you cannot tell what dogs will be like near sheep - they are re unpredictable.”

The incident has been reported to Lincolnshire Police, who issued the following statement: “We are investigating an incident in which a number of sheep were killed or injured by dogs in a field in Saltfleetby St Peter.

“We can’t comment on this specific case as enquiries are ongoing. However, in general, it is an issue that dog owners need to be mindful of. It’s a rural county we live in.

“Whilst livestock worrying is by no means a common occurrence, we certainly see a number of incidents a year. Our advice to dog owners is to be responsible and vigilant at all times, but especially when near livestock.

“The repercussions for not having your dog under control are absolutely devastating, not only for the livestock and their owner, but also for you and your dog - should your dog be proved to have injured or killed livestock, it can be required under the Dogs Act that the animal be destroyed.”