LETTER: ‘Lucky sheep’
I read about the sheep being rescued from the river by firemen. It was lucky.
Sheep are grazed on the steep banks of the north level drain at Tydd Gote. A couple of months ago, I spotted a dead one in the river. It had been there for about a week. Eventually I took videos of it and phoned the drainage board. Now, the law states that animals have to be checked at least once in every 24 hours. Obviously the shepherd had not done this otherwise he or she would have noticed the large sheep carcase polluting the water and buzzing with swarms of bluebottles. The poor thing was bloated and in full view of its flock mates which would have caused them stress.
A few years ago, I was driving near this same spot and saw a sheep in the water. Me being me, I threw myself out of the car, took off my shoes so as to get a good grip of the ground and went down the bank to the water. To this day I have no idea how I managed to pull it out because its fleece had become totally waterlogged and it was unable to pull itself out.
It must have weighed over 30kg. It had been there some time and had ingested water and had laboured rattly breathing. I managed to drag it out of the water and place it beside a bale of straw on the bank, then went knocking on nearby doors to see if anyone had the owner’s contact details to tell him it needed veterinary care.
That is why this sheep was so lucky. Within only a few minutes in the water, the fleece absorbs water and literally pulls them under and they drown. Having nearly drowned myself as a child, I can tell you it’s the most terrifying thing.
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I do wish livestock keepers didn’t graze their animals on the steeper banks. I suppose it must be cheap to do so and the death of a few animals from drowning every year doesn’t eat into their profits too much.
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Tydd St Giles