Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dangerous Dogs – dead sheep

Yesterday we went to check on the lambs. One was looking very unwell. She was lying down and although she could walk when encouraged, her head was drooping. After a closer look and a bit of detective work by a keen eyed 8-year old, we realized what had happened…the lambs had been attacked by a loose dog. There was still saliva on the lamb’s neck, under her fleece we discovered serious puncture wounds and there was evidence of fresh blood on the wood of the sheep shelter. It was also clear that the fence had been breached.

We called out the vet and he confirmed our worst fears – the lamb had been attacked by a dog (of Labrador size or bigger) and shaken violently causing a broken neck and brain damage. The poor lamb had no chance of recovery and it only remained for us to hold her and comfort her as the vet put her out of her misery. Our daughter held the torch in the darkness and we said goodbye to the lamb for the last time. It was unexpectedly emotional.

We only had long enough to wipe our tears and mop our blood stained clothes before traipsing in to the local police station to report the attack. The officers were extremely sympathetic and recorded the case, offered liaison with their rural team and the officer for the area. They also confirmed what our rather vengeful son wanted to know…”can we shoot a dog if it tries to eat our sheep?” The answer was an unequivocal “yes”. However, as it is highly unlikely that we will be shooting rampaging dogs, we have opted for a number of polite notices alerting dog owners to the dangers of letting dogs off the leash near a sheep field. We have also put up another 50 meters of mesh to make it even harder for dogs to get into the field.

Poor lamb.

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