A farmer is urging dog owners to keep an eye on their pets following an attack on his new lambs which saw over 20 dead and six injured.
Nigel Turner of Graig Farm, Cross Ash, was horrified when he and his son Matthew found 20 three-week-old lambs littered around his field and another six were alive, but with serious injuries.
Nigel had been working in an adjacent field on Monday (April 25), and had seen a large black dog in with his sheep and suddenly saw a lamb move in front of it.
He went to get his son Matthew and as they ran back across the field, they came across three lambs with their throats ripped out, “one was still alive” Nigel told the Beacon.
“As we went on over the brow of the field, we saw the dog tossing a lamb up in the air,” he added.
So they took steps to stop the dog before it could do any more damage.
“We had 300 ewes and lambs in a 27-acre field: the dog just went around and picked on what he could catch. In 51 years of farming here, we’ve never had a problem” added Nigel.
“I rang the police straight away and informed them,” he added.
“We went back out into the field to collect the evidence ready for the police and found more dead lambs in the longer grass and saw the ewes bleating for their lambs.
“Some of the mauled lambs had been dead a few days by the amount of decay so the dog had been out there before,” said Nigel.
Gwent Police Rural Crime officers from Newport visited the farm the next day and spoke with Nigel and the owner of the dog and satisfied themselves that no criminal offence had taken place.
The police advised Nigel to get an insurance company to assess a claim against the owner, who has already offered to pay compensation towards Mr Turner’s loss.
The police also told Nigel that he had done everything “by the book” in taking the appropriate steps to stop the dog after warning the owner about a previous incident
“About 10 days ago, I spotted the same dog in my field holding a lamb down and as we approached him, the dog ran off back to his owner, so we warned him then that his dog was in with our sheep”.
PC Louise Burgess, from Gwent Police’s rural crime team, said: “We received a call on Monday 25 April reporting a dog had been shot dead after it killed several lambs on farmland in Cross Ash, near Abergavenny.
“Officers attended and after speaking to both the owners of the lambs and the dog, no criminal offences were identified.
“The pursuit of any financial loss in terms of livestock is now a civil matter for those involved. It is the responsibility of dog owners to keep their dogs on leads while walking near to livestock, and to make sure that their dogs are kept secure when at home, so they cannot escape,” said Louise.
“One of the most frustrating things for a farmer is to find a dog off the lead roaming in their fields only to be told by the owner that the dog is under control and won’t harm the animals,” she added.
A spokesman for the Farmers Union of Wales said: “For dog owners our message is simple - please keep your dog on a lead and under close control, or for people living in the countryside make sure you know where your dog is at all times. Not many of us would be able to distract a dog that has found an interest in the livestock in the field and the consequences for both livestock and dog could be devastating in equal measures.
“It’s also worth remembering that ewes with lambs or cattle with calves are very protective of their young and might not react as expected when approached by strangers. The best way to avoid any incidents is to follow the Countryside Code and stay clear of the animals.
“We all want people and their dogs, to be able to enjoy the countryside but in a responsible manner. Keep your dog under control at all times so that you do not scare or disturb farm animals.