Shepherd's plea as sheep attacked by loose dogs

After seeing his sheep attacked by dogs again, a shepherd is urging dog owners to keep their pets on leads around livestock.
George Robinson and  Keira Rhodes with their flock of sheep. Photo: John Aron PhotographyGeorge Robinson and  Keira Rhodes with their flock of sheep. Photo: John Aron Photography
George Robinson and Keira Rhodes with their flock of sheep. Photo: John Aron Photography

George Robinson is the shepherd at Scrivelsby Estate, which boasts 2,000 sheep, and in recent weeks there have been several attacks on the 100 sheep who graze on the grass outside Horncastle’s swimming pool by dogs who have been let off their leads.

In the last month alone, there have been two attacks on the sheep which has seen 21 of the flock killed or injured.

In the first attack, three of the sheep were so badly injured that they had to be put down, while a further five were driven into the river and drowned, and eight more were injured and needed vet treatment.

The second attack, on Wednesday November 29, saw sheep attacked again and one is currently being isolated in a shed to recover from its wounds to its legs.

Mr Robinson said: “Most people are law-abiding citizens and walk through these fields with their dogs on leads, as the law states that you must do near livestock.

"But a lot of people aren’t adhering to that – they say their dog wouldn’t do that [attack sheep] but any dog has the potential to do that, it’s in their nature.”

It is thought that a couple holidaying in the area with a white campervan filmed the attack on the sheep with a mobile phone, and Mr Robinson was unable to catch up with them as he had to rescue one of the sheep from the river.

Now Mr Robinson is appealing for anyone who has any footage of these attacks to get in touch with police, and meanwhile, for all dog owners to keep their dogs under control.

"It’s the law to keep your dog on a lead near livestock, and we’ve got signs up everywhere to make it clear,” he said.

Under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, dogs must be kept on a lead that's no more than two metres long at all times around livestock, and must not be allowed to ‘worry’ – attack or chase – livestock.

The Countryside Code states: "On Open Access land and at the coast, you must put your dog on a lead around livestock. Between 1 March and 31 July, you must have your dog on a lead on Open Access land, even if there is no livestock on the land. These are legal requirements."

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman confirmed: “Incident 209 of 29 November, reported at 1.31pm relates to a report of sheep being injured at Thornton.

"Enquiries are ongoing. We are appealing for information and other witnesses who may have seen a man wearing a black beanie hat and checked shirt type jacket and a medium-sized brown dog between 12pm to 2pm on 29 November.