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Farming leaders demand tougher sentences after dogs kill 33 sheep

33 sheep were left dead or dying after a prolonged attack by two mastiffs in a farm field near Attlebridge. Pictured: The two dogs before they were chased off the field. Picture: Julie Dacre

33 sheep were left dead or dying after a prolonged attack by two mastiffs in a farm field near Attlebridge. Pictured: The two dogs before they were chased off the field. Picture: Julie Dacre

Julie Dacre

Farming industry leaders have demanded tougher sentences for "livestock worrying" following a horrific attack by two dogs which left 33 sheep dead in a Norfolk field.

33 sheep were left dead or dying after a prolonged attack by two mastiffs in a farm field near Attlebridge. Picture: Julie Dacre33 sheep were left dead or dying after a prolonged attack by two mastiffs in a farm field near Attlebridge. Picture: Julie Dacre

It follows a case at Norwich Magistrates' Court, where 36-year-old Howie Miller, of Oast House Barn in Alderford, pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog worrying livestock and was ordered to pay a fine of £400 and compensation of £600.

Farmer Julie Dacre, of Ash Tree Farm in Attlebridge, described the penalty as an "insult to the farming community", falling far short of her estimated £4,543 cost for veterinary bills, disposal costs and replacement animals after the traumatic attack on October 26.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) wants the current maximum fine of £1,000 to be raised significantly, and for livestock worrying to be made a recordable crime, so there is better awareness of the scale of the problem.

The NFU is also working with the Kennel Club to encourage dog owners to keep animals on a lead near livestock.

Norfolk farmer Roger Long, a member of the NFU's East Anglia livestock board, said: "This case sends a message that people need to be much more responsible and understand the damage that any dog can do to sheep. But it also sends a message that the compensation payments are very inadequate.

"This lady is getting a fraction of the financial cost back, and that does not include the emotional cost.

"We need to make the point that these fines are totally inadequate, and that dog owners need to be more vigilant."

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