writes Lottie Welch

Calls for dog walkers to keep their pets on a lead are being repeated following a ‘horrific’ attack on a sheep in west Dorset.

Caroline Marshall of Oxbridge Farm, near Melplash, is urging owners to keep their dogs on leads when walking through fields with livestock after one of her sheep was "ripped to pieces".

She said: “We breed pedigree Texel sheep and we have just a small flock. They are handled a lot so are quite tame, and this particular one was quite tame as we fed him with his mum as a baby.

“My daughter went out at 10am last Tuesday and found him ripped to pieces.

“She phoned the vets and they said they would treat him for nothing, but when we took him there, they said he was too far gone.

“If it was a dog loose on its own it would have stopped and eaten some, but I have a horrible feeling the dog was with someone. That is what’s horrid about it, people’s attitudes. Owner’s know what is happening and they love their dog so they don’t report it as they think it will get put down.

“Even if they just phoned to say they had found the sheep attacked, pretending it wasn’t their dog, but nothing, which is disgusting.”

The field has two public footpaths running through it, but Caroline says: "It is no excuse for not putting dogs on leads.

“We are going to make some graphic signs and put them up to show dog walkers what they can create.

“It is the first one we have had up here. We have had attacks at a different farm and it’s horrific and the sheep stay traumatised for a long time after.

“I had an incident with a girl walking her dog which was running around the field and the sheep were all huddled in the middle. I said it should be on a lead, but she replied that it wasn’t chasing the sheep. It is still worrying, and the sheep can abort.”

Originally published in the Dorset Echo

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