Sheep killed and injured in dog attack near Wotton-Under-Edge
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WARNING: This article contains an image which some people may find distressing.
Police are appealing for information after multiple sheep were attacked by a dog on farmland near Wotton-Under-Edge yesterday evening, Thursday 2 November.
The incident happened in fields close to the B4060 layby at Bournstream between 10pm and midnight.
One sheep was killed with another five looking to be humanely destroyed as a result of their injuries. A further 20 animals will need treatment for bite wounds.
Sergeant Garrett Gloyn, of Stroud Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "This is a shocking incident for the owner of the attacked animals, which has been made worse as we believe the person or persons in charge of the dogs was present at the time."
Officers would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious near the layby on the B4060, or on Old London Road close to the public footpaths that enter the adjacent woodland.
They are also keen to identify the owner of a camper van reported to have been parked on Old London Road last night.
You must ensure a field or area has no livestock in it before letting your dog off lead. It is the law to keep your dog under control and the responsibility falls with the owner.
Allowing a dog to worry or attack livestock is a criminal offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.
Sheep represent a farmer's income and are often worth a substantial sum. If they are attacked or killed, the loss that farmers face can leave them substantially out of pocket.
Sheep worrying can include dogs attacking animals physically, running after them or chasing the sheep around, especially when they are carrying lambs or there are young lambs within the flock. Dog faeces left on grazing land may also carry disease which can kill sheep and affect unborn lambs.
Ultimately a landowner by law, and as a last resort for protecting their livestock, is able to shoot a dog which they believe is worrying sheep. However, nobody wants to see this outcome.
When walking dogs in rural areas, dog owners are advised about the following:
Always ensure your dog is under control in an area where there are livestock or wild animals.
Be particularly vigilant during lambing season and always keep dogs on a lead during this time.
If your dog is not good with other animals or people, avoid letting them off their lead when others are around.
Don't allow people who may not be confident in doing so or have full control over the animal to walk your dog.
Remember where there may be no livestock in a field one day, the same location could be full of animals the next.
Ultimately a landowner by law, and as a last resort for protecting their livestock, is able to shoot a dog which they believe is worrying sheep. Police must be notified within 48 hours if this course of action is taken.