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Canine assault kills six sheep at Norfolk farm

7:00 AM June 11, 2022

A Norfolk livestock farmer has spoken of her anger and heartbreak after six of her sheep have been killed in a vicious assault by two pet canines.

Meg Atkins was horrified to listen to that her boyfriend had found canines operating off the lead in considered one of her flock’s grazing fields in Little Witchingham, close to Reepham.

5 lambs and a ewe have been discovered useless with chew wounds, whereas one other two lambs have been injured and traumatised, she stated.

Meg Atkins’ sheep, which are nonetheless traumatised after being attacked by pet canines
– Credit score: Denise Bradley

Miss Atkins, 25, works as a stockwoman at a livestock enterprise in Foxley, however pours all her spare money and time into her personal Megfield Livestock enterprise, which additionally features a industrial cattle herd.

She stated the monetary price could be greater than £2,500, together with the veterinary payments and the price of disposing of useless animals together with two pedigree blue Texel lambs.

However she stated the primary affect is the emotional pressure of dropping her much-loved animals – and taking care of survivors which now act very in another way round her and her trainee sheepdog.

“I keep these animals all 12 months spherical, I lamb by myself alongside my full-time job and you then get one thing like this,” she stated.

“All that point you place into lambing, all the cash you pay for renting sheds and grazing… after I got here again that night time I used to be so offended, I simply stood right here and cried my eyes out. It’s a kick within the guts.

“This has price me some huge cash, however that’s not the purpose. It’s extra about how my sheep are with me now – I can see of their behaviour that they’re nonetheless pressured and frightened.

“Normally they are going to be throughout me, however now they do not need to know me in any respect.

“Additionally, I’m coaching my sheepdog, so I’ve been retaining her round them so that they get used to her. However now I dare not even have her out.”

Miss Atkins stated she has had issues together with her psychological well being, which is among the causes she works with animals.

“When I’ve a nerve-racking day I come again within the night and go round my sheep or my cows, it’s a consolation,” she stated.

“This is the place I’m happiest. However I do not come from a wealthy background, so I’ve to have a full-time job to have the ability to run this and to maintain constructing it up, so one thing like this destroys you.

“However folks suppose they’re simply sheep. They do not realise that when they’re yours you place in all of your time, and all of your cash to them. It’s like they’re part of me.”

Livestock farmer near Reepham, Meg Atkins with sheepdog Luna, whose sheep were attacked by pet dogs.

Livestock farmer Meg Atkins together with her sheepdog Luna, whose sheep have been attacked by pet canines operating free on grazing land at Little Witchingham

– Credit score: Denise Bradley

Miss Atkins stated she didn’t understand how the canines acquired into the sphere, which has no public footpaths alongside it and is surrounded by a four-foot inventory fence – leaving the sheep with no method of escaping.

She urged all canine homeowners to maintain their pets on leads round livestock, and to take accountability for the security of livestock within the countryside.

“I perceive folks need to let their canines off the lead,” she stated. “I’ve acquired canines, I do know they will misbehave. No canine is ideal, and when they’re close to livestock their intuition will come out.

“You can not assist that. However after they get in a muddle, it’s good to suppose: ‘What do I’ve to do now? I’ve acquired to seek out who owns the sphere or discover somebody who can get the canine out’. Simply be accountable, that’s all it’s a must to do.

“There are such a lot of circumstances of this on a regular basis. How far does it need to go earlier than folks begin to pay attention?

“To be truthful, 99pc of individuals are good as gold, and have their canines on a lead. However you at all times get some individuals who suppose they know finest, that their canine will not do it.”

The canines have been caught by the police, and officers are nonetheless investigating the incident, which occurred at about 3.30pm on Might 21.

Witnesses or anybody with data ought to name Norfolk police on 101, quoting investigation reference 36/38057/22.

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