December 8 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Thursday, January 3, 2013
A FARMER has pleaded for dog owners to keep their pets under control after some of his sheep were left with ears missing in a savage attack in Doddington.
Jim Fletcher says the damage caused by out-of-control dogs is worse than ever and that he now has to deal with up to eight attacks on his livestock every year.
The 38-year-old owns Fendale Farm, in Nordelph, but grazes up to 3,000 sheep in fields across the Fens.
He was alerted to the latest attack on Boxing Day, when a friend telephoned him to tell him that a group of his sheep were cowering in a ditch in Wood Street, Doddington.
Mr Fletcher said: “I knew straight away that a dog must have been involved because the sheep never get out otherwise.
“Some of the sheep in the ditch had ears missing and they had quite bad facial injuries. There was blood everywhere.
“About 20 were injured and eight of them were really bad. There were bits of wool hanging from them and bite marks all over their legs.”
Police are appealing for information over the Doddington attack, which happened in a field popular with dog walkers between 1pm on Christmas Day and 11am on Boxing Day.
Mr Fletcher, who is having to treat the injured sheep with antibiotics, said the number of dog attacks was spiralling out of control.
“It’s slowly getting worse every year now,” he said.
“It seems the ‘in thing’ at the moment is to have a big dog at home. When people take them for a walk in the countryside they don’t realise the damage they can do.
“The more land we have to give up because of dog problems, the less sheep I can keep and the less profit I can make. It’s getting to be a big problem.”
PCSO Sally Mitchell said: “We do not know for sure what caused these injuries but the sheep appear to have been chased so it may well have been a dog.
“This was very unpleasant and inconvenient for the farmer involved and I am keen to discover what happened.
“I would like to speak to anyone who was in the area over Christmas, maybe walking their own dog, as they might have important information.”
Anyone with information should contact PCSO Mitchell on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
Mr Fletcher, who is originally from Manea, had to pay for extensive veterinary treatment last year when one of his £500 rams was mauled by a dog.