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Sheep dead after savage dog attack

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THREE sheep were savaged to death in a vicious dog attack that left the farmer in floods of tears.

Melissa Ironmonger, who runs a farm in Crimscote with her husband James, said she “cried her eyes out” following the discovery that three of their sheep had had their throats ripped, their sides chewed and their rear ends badly bitten during the horrendous overnight attack on Monday 15th November.

The sheep after the attack (53481094)
The sheep after the attack (53481094)

The attack was so savage it caused a fourth sheep to die later of shock.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” Melissa told the Herald. “We have two children and they understand farming but I’m just glad they didn’t see the dead sheep – it was too painful and too traumatic. We have a bridle path on our land which has signs telling people to keep their dogs on leads but it’s not where the attack happened. No one should have been anywhere near that field. One explanation could be hare coursers allowed dogs to attack the sheep as a treat for a bit of fun.”

James checked the sheep on the Monday at 4pm. The following day, at 10am, he and Melissa were told of the attack by a person with a neighbouring field who spotted the sheep carcasses.

The couple have 300 sheep. The four that died were pedigree texel ewes worth around £250 each.

There was another dog attack at the farm two years ago where two sheep were killed and four had to be euthanised after their ears were ripped off.

“I don’t think last week’s attack was carried out by a novice dog,” Melissa said. “A novice dog attack doesn’t look like the injuries caused to the sheep. The dog or dogs involved knew how to take a sheep down but we have no witnesses.

“This is becoming an increasing issue nationwide which is why we want to raise awareness and remind dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead near livestock.”

The incident has been reported to police and Melissa and James have also put an appeal for information on social media and warned to fellow farmers to be vigilant, but to date there have been no new developments.

Rural insurer NFU Mutual has revealed the cost of dog attacks on farm animals rose by an estimated 50 per cent during the first quarter of 2021 – an estimated £1.3m of livestock were savaged by dogs.

Rupert Inkpen, Warwickshire NFU chairman who farms livestock at Knowle, said: “Hundreds of sheep and cattle die as a result of injuries caused by dogs every year and these incidents cause distress for farmers and their livestock.

“People find it hard to believe that their pet can be a danger to livestock but whatever their temperament, dogs have a chase instinct that can be triggered by the sight or movement of farm animals.

"The great animal-loving Warwickshire public would be horrified to see what damage an uncontrolled dog can do."

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