Four sheep have been killed in fields, near to the Pinewoods, over the last month.
Mike Clarke, the owner of the fields, said:
Each killing also traumatises the flock and affects the farmer’s livelihood.
Dogs do not have to bite a sheep to kill it, chasing them can lead to a fatal shock.
Several people have come to us asking if the fencing can be made dog proof but it is not as simple as that. The fencing is to keep the livestock in and dog walkers have to keep their animals under control. However good the fencing is, dogs can find a way in.
We re-fenced the worst section – by the barn conversions – a year ago and, while it is solid, six-feet high and only inches from the ground – at least one dog has got through.
Farming, like many other jobs, has been made tougher by Brexit with a loss of subsidies, and the farmer works long hours, 365 days a year, to make a living and does not necessarily have the time, or money, to patch up fencing so dog walkers can feel that they do not need to control their pets.
The farmer would be legally within his rights to shoot a dog chasing his sheep but, although he has seen this happening, he has not done so because he cares about dogs more than some people care about his sheep.
We would also like to ask if we can meet with you, or someone from the group, to discuss us placing some signs for the farmer at selected places on the path – such as on trees or signage near the telescope or the signage at the bottom near Crag Lane – asking people to keep their dogs under control as this needs to be stopped.
The pointless killing of farm animals is not in anyone’s interests, including the dog which is likely to do it again and may well get shot as a result.
Neil Hind, Chairperson of the Pinewoods Conservation Group:
We are very disappointed to hear about the killing of 4 sheep adjacent to The Pinewoods. We would remind all dog walkers to keep their animals under control at all times.
This does not only protect these sheep, but also our many visitors and varied wildlife.
Temporary signage will be erected on the main path from RHS Harlow Carr to Harlow Moor Road to enforce this message.