Farming leaders demand tougher sentences after dogs kill 33 sheep
- Credit: 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.
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.
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"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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