'Mentally debilitating': Bucks farmer loses sheep to deadly dog attacks
A FARMER in Buckinghamshire has been left ‘shaken’ after losing sheep to deadly dog attacks.
Concern is growing amid deadly dog attacks claiming farmers’ livestock across the country.
One of the victims of out-of-control dogs is farmer Oliver East and his flock.
Buckinghamshire farmer Oliver East has lost more than 20 sheep to vicious dog attacks this winter.
He told Sky News what had happened to one of his ewes only days ago: "Its back legs were severely mauled, it had its ears pulled off, and its throat was pulled out.”
The attacks were a “weekly occurrence, if not twice a week now,” he said.
On top of the financial loss of around £500 per sheep, the attacks deeply affect him mentally.
"I just can't mentally and physically go through losing this many ewes. It's mentally debilitating,” he told Sky News.
During spring, pregnant ewes and newborn lambs are at particular risk from out-of-control dogs.
Farm animals worth £1.8 million were severely injured or killed by dogs in 2022, NFU Mutual estimates show.
New research by NFU Mutual also shows distracted dog owners are putting livestock at risk.
A survey of more than 1,100 dog owners by NFU Mutual found that although 64 percent of owners admitted their dogs chase animals, 46 percent believed their dog was not capable of injuring or killing livestock.
NFU Mutua’s rural affairs specialist Hannah Binns said: “It’s clear that a significant number of dog owners are blinded by their love for their pets and believe that they would never chase, attack or kill livestock.
“We’ve heard reports from farmers that dog walkers are becoming more distracted, often on their mobile phones with their pets out of sight and are seemingly unaware of the carnage their dog could cause.
“The Covid-19 pandemic saw a boom in dog ownership as many people purchased puppies for the first time, yet these may not have been trained properly or be familiar with farm animals.”
In August last year, three alpacas were injured and one had to be castrated after a suspected dog attack.