Victims sympathise after owner of sheep-killing dogs is sentenced

Caroline and Jim Chapman, pictured with their six-year-old daughter Emily, were left devastated by the loss of their sheep back in February. EMN-150306-113051001
Caroline and Jim Chapman, pictured with their six-year-old daughter Emily, were left devastated by the loss of their sheep back in February. EMN-150306-113051001

The owner of two Alsatian dogs, which killed seven sheep and mortally injured a further four, has appeared in court in Skegness.

Paula Ellemore, 50, of Main Road, Saltfleetby, admitted the offence which occurred on land, also on Main Road, Saltfleetby, on February 13.

Daniel Pietryka, prosecuting, said that Ms Ellmore’s two dogs escaped from her property into a nearby field where they attacked a flock of sheep, killing seven, injuring another four which had to be put down and a further 15 which had to be treated for their injuries.

When she was interviewed by the police, she told them that although the dogs had escaped before, this was the first time they had attacked animals.

She told them she had created a secure area for the dogs and had meetings with the local council to try and improve the situation after complaints about the dogs barking all day.

Mitigating, Beris Brickles said that thankfully it was very rare for such a case to come before the courts.

“It is an absolute offence and the owner is responsible, even if he or she has no idea it has happened,” he told the magistrates.

He said that Ms Ellemore’s insurance company had paid out £6,500 to the farmer so the question of compensation had been dealt with.

Mr Brickles said that Ms Ellemore had kept dogs at her address for 17 years and had a three acre field in which the dogs were allowed to roam.

He said that after the two dogs first escaped, she created a smaller compound for them closer to the house which they could access through a dog flap, but they started barking and, after complaints from a neighbour and intervention by officials from ELDC, she allowed them back into the larger field, having installed additional fencing.

However, he told the court, they were able to get under the fence in the one place where it had not been possible to sink the fence into the ground.

Mr Brickles said Ms Ellemore had offered to have the dogs destroyed but in the end, she decided to have them re-homed, so they were no longer at her property.

The magistrates imposed a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered her to pay £85 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Caroline Chapman, who owned the sheep with her husband Jim, told the Leader that she felt the sentence 
was fair.

Mrs Chapman said: “We do feel for her, as she didn’t intend for this to happen.

“I think the sentence is fair, and we have been compensated through her insurance.”

“It will have been traumatic for her as well as us, so we do sympathise with her. She was very remorseful when my husband went to see her a few days after it happened.”

“This has been a difficult time but we’ve got to put it behind us and move forward.”