May 24 2013 Latest news:
George Perrott - Farms Manager for Clinton Devon Estates, with some of his sheep. George is appealing for dog walkers to keep their dogs on leeds following a recent attack on his flock. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exb 2722-05-13AW
Friday, February 1, 2013
An Otter Valley sheep farmer is urging dog owners to keep their pets on leads - after an attack resulted in the deaths of two heavily pregnant pedigree ewes.
George Perrott, of Popham’s Farm, Colaton Raleigh, says one ewe had part of its leg chewed off and had to be put down, while another was so terrified it had fallen down a ravine while trying to escape.
Others in the flock of prize-winning Texels were so traumatised that George fears they could abort.
He said: “The fact this has happened just weeks before lambing is a real blow.
“It is a catastrophe and has destroyed a year’s work.”
Popham’s Farm is part of the Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, with 3,000 acres stretching from Mutters Moor to Woodbury Common containing 450 sheep and 500 dairy cows.
The ewes, which are due to give birth next month, had been moved to a secluded field at Ashtree Farm.
But when shepherd Graham Hill went to check on the flock at around 5.30pm on Tuesday, January 22, he saw that 36 of them were in the wrong field.
As Graham got closer, he saw that a snarling dog had cornered the sheep and was in the midst of attacking them.
“They were terrified,” he said. “The dog’s face was covered in blood and the ewes had been forced to jump the fence to the next field to escape.
“One sheep was lying on the ground - bleeding with part of its leg chewed off.”
He said some of the flock had run so far they were not found until several days later.
“It’s a disaster. We won’t know how it will affect the rest of the flock until they start lambing.”
He added: “It is not the dog’s fault. Dog owners must be accountable for their pet’s actions.
“It is vital that dog owners have full control over their pets at all times in the countryside.
Police are investigating.