Dogs are costing farmers thousands of pounds in lost livestock in the East of England
25 February 2019, 16:08 | Updated: 25 February 2019, 16:14
Farmers across the East are having their sheep injured and killed in dog attacks.
Over £190,000 of livestock has been lost by farmers in the East of England between 2015-2018, due to dog attacks.
Rural insurer, NFU Mutual has launched a new campaign to encourage dog owners to make sure their pets aren't roaming free in rural areas around livestock.
January to April is typically when farmers see the highest number of attacks, during their lambing season.
William Defeyter, a farmer from North Walsham in Norfolk told Heart all they ask is for people to keep their dogs on a lead near fields of livestock:
"Going down there, not knowing what to expect, you know are you going to find sheep that are torn to bits? You start to get to the place where you question why am I doing this? It's not worth seeing the sheep attacked, it's not worth renting land that you can't do anything with.
We've found sheep drowned in the canal, because they've been pushed in there by the dogs. We've gone down there and sheep have torn to shreds and we've had to rush them to the vets. In extreme cses we've actually had to euthanase them on the spot."
Research done by NFU Mutual found that 87% of dog owners exercise their pets in the countryside, and over 60% of them let them roam off the lead. 61% of dog owners said they would try to stop a dog chasing a sheep in the countryside and 75% said they support heavy fines, when dogs do attack sheep.
Rebecca Davidson, Rural Insurance Specialist at NFU Mutual told Heart:
" We are receiving increasing reports of local dogs escaping from homes and attacking sheep, either because their owners do not know or do not care that their dogs are roaming wild and causing havoc.
Thousands of sheep are being killed and horribly mutilated by dogs and we will be redoubling our efforts to raise awareness of the issue, and helping police to bring owners of dogs which attack livestock to justice."
Across the whole of England research show farmers have lost £3,470,743 worth of livestock in the last four years.