Farmer behind Gladis’ Law loses sheep in brutal dog attacks

Warning: Article contains graphic images

A Dorset farmer who is campaigning for tougher laws on livestock worrying is in despair after suffering “brutal” attacks against his animals by loose dogs.

Cameron Farquharson has been lobbying MPs to make it a legal requirement for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead near livestock.

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It followed the death of his Highland cow, Gladis, and her unborn calf, which was chased off a cliff by a loose dog at Eggardon Hill, a National Trust beauty spot near Bridport, in May 2021.

Farmer holding young lambs

West Dorset livestock farmer Cameron Farquharson © Cameron Farquharson

Now Mr Farquharson has revealed he lost 11 in-lamb ewes in just 10 days following attacks by out-of-control dogs in the same spot this month.

“We have got loads of big signs up saying: ‘Please keep your dogs on leads. There is livestock in the fields.’ It is blatantly ignored,” he said.

“There is a bridleway running through the field which dog owners should stick to. But they just allow their dogs to run free across the fields and it causes carnage.

“The attacks have been brutal. We found one Manx sheep walking around with its intestines hanging out.”

Mutilated sheep

© Cameron Farquharson

Hefty bill

The farmer faces a £1,350 bill, as well as the added penalty of £18 to dispose of each sheep carcass.

He is insured for his losses, but if he makes a claim he will likely see his premium increased.

Mutilated sheep

© Cameron Farquharson

A bill that seeks to make it a criminal offence to allow dogs off leads near livestock, dubbed “Gladis’ Law”, has had its second reading in parliament, but progress has stalled.

“Livestock worrying has been getting worse over the past two years,” said Mr Farquharson.

“In Scotland, the maximum penalties are £40,000 and 12 months in prison for offenders. Why can’t we have similar penalties in England, or at the very least a £10,000 maximum fine?”

The National Trust said it was “frustrated” by the latest attacks and had offered its support to Mr Farquharson.

“It is imperative that all visitors follow the Countryside Code and keep their dogs on leads around livestock – both for the safety of the livestock that lives there and the dog itself,” said a spokesman.

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