A farmer who was the victim of the UK’s “worst case of sheep worrying” is calling for stiffer penalties for irresponsible owners who let their dogs worry livestock.
A total of 116 New Zealand Romney sheep, worth an estimated £17,000, died on in a field at the West Dean Estate in West Dean, near Chichester, West Sussex.
Horrified farmer Gordon Wyeth made the grim discovery, which the NFU described as the “worst case of sheep worrying in the UK in living memory”, on 7 March.
Sussex Police said they were “100% certain” dogs were responsible for the attack, despite no physical evidence that any of the sheep were savaged.
Farmers Weekly’s Phil Case visited the farmer to hear his story – watch the video below.
He believes tougher laws would deter dog owners from letting their pets lose in the countryside and causing devastation among flocks.
He said: “Farmers have tried everything from putting up signs to threatening to shoot dogs, but it isn’t working.
“We need on-the-spot fines for whose dogs are caught worrying stock.
“We also need the public to be more vigilant and report livestock worrying crimes to police.”
His plea came as figures from rural insurer NFU Mutual showed the cost of livestock worrying attacks rose by 35% in 2015 compared with the previous year, to more than £1.1m.
Read the full story in this week’s Farmers Weekly, available to download on iPad or tablet this Thursday (17 March) or buy from Friday (18 March).