Deer mowed down and crops destroyed in ‘barbaric’ attack

WARNING: This article contains an image that some readers may find distressing

A “barbaric” attack has left a fallow deer dead and crops destroyed at a farm in Dorset.

Poachers entered a field in Christchurch during the night and used a vehicle to mow down the animal.

Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team released a number of images following the incident, which is believed to have happened overnight on Wednesday 16 June.

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… hare coursing

PC Sebastian Haggett said: “These are the scenes that a farmer in Dorset has awoken to this morning.

“A trespasser has entered a field in a vehicle in the night, driven down crop and then killed a deer. It appears this has been done by making contact with it in a vehicle.”

Damage caused by the vehicle

Damage caused by the vehicle © Dorset Police Rural Crime Team

The officer said the images are “unsettling” and a “reminder of the realities of poaching”.

He added: “This is not ‘one for the pot’ or the result of a hungry individual trying to feed their family.

“If you see a vehicle in a field at night and suspect poaching in progress, please do not delay and dial 999.”

Aerial view of the dead deer run over by poachers

The dead deer run over by poachers © Dorset Police Rural Crime Team

Farmer disgusted

The farmer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This is just another example of the ongoing attacks farmers are experiencing on a daily basis from poachers.

“There is no link between hungry families and this crime, but only a desire from a minority of individuals who think it’s acceptable to behave in our community like this.

“Unreported incidents like this are commonplace; as a community we have a responsibility to report everything that is linked to these crimes in order to allow resources to be allocated.

“With joined-up reporting from farming communities and members of the public, we can all play our part in putting an end to this barbaric and sadistic behaviour.”

Poaching crackdown

Defra plans to bring forward legislation to crack down on illegal hare coursing and deer poaching offences, which includes an update of game and poaching laws which date back to the 1800s.

Tougher punishments for offenders will include unlimited fines and new powers for courts to give longer prison sentences.

On 17 June, environment minister Rebecca Pow chaired a round-table meeting with the police and stakeholders, including the Country Land and Business Association and National Farmers Union, to set out possible options for legislation and launch detailed work to develop the plans.

In-calf cow killed in dog attack on Dorset farm

An in-calf cow and her unborn calf have been killed following an attack by a loose dog on a farm in Dorset.

Dorset Police said the attack took place between 14 and 21 June in a field behind the High Street in Shapwick.

“The cow was a Jersey cow, 11 years old and in-calf. Neither has survived,” said a police spokesman.

Anyone who was walking in the area between these dates along the public footpath through these fields who witnessed a dog attacking cows is urged to call Dorset Police on 101, quoting reference number 55210099217.

Police urged walkers to keep dogs on a lead when passing through livestock.

“Just because your dog has never worried livestock before, it doesn’t mean it will never do it,” said PCSO Andy Flanagan.

The attack follows a similar incident at Eggardon Hill, Dorset, in May when an out-of-control dog killed “Gladis”, a heavily in-calf Highland cow.

Since the attack, farmer Cameron Farquharson has launched a petition called “Gladis’ Law”, which is demanding a change in legislation to require all dogs to be on a lead when livestock are in a field.

To pledge your support for the petition, email

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