Dog owners urged to act responsibly after Essex sheep attack

Dog walkers are being urged to act responsibly this Easter weekend after a major sheep worrying incident in Essex.

Warm weather is forecast with temperatures set to reach 24C in some parts of the country, according to the Met Office.

The government has told people they must stay at home and only leave the house for very limited purposes, which include one form of exercise a day.

See also: What to do if you’re a victim of… sheep worrying

The NFU has urged dog owners to keep pets on a lead near livestock after two sheep were killed and 20 seriously injured in a dog attack on a flock near Chelmsford.

The attack took place more than half a mile away from the nearest public right of way. One of the vets who attended described it as the “most prolific dog attack on sheep” she had ever seen.

Some of the sheep had to have tails and ears amputated because their injuries were so severe.

A team of four vets and an assistant from Westpoint Farm Vets attended, dealing with the situation while maintaining social distancing requirements.

‘Completely avoidable’

Vet Ami Sawran said: “Loose dogs, insecure yards and ignorance don’t just kill and injure sheep.

“In times like this, it puts people at risk too. We are all working hard to safeguard human and animal health and the issue is compounded by completely avoidable attacks.”

NFU Essex county adviser Jake Richards urged dog walkers to be responsible and use a lead.

“Even the most docile of pets can cause serious injury and death if they are not walked responsibly, particularly if that dog is not familiar with livestock.

“The farmer, his family and the vets who attended are all distressed by this appalling incident.”

According to rural insurer NFU Mutual, last year dogs savaged livestock worth £1.2m, causing suffering to animals and distress to farmers as they dealt with the aftermath.

Essex Police said it is investigating the incident.

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