Rasen area farmers fear another attack

A group of Herdwick sheep, similar to those attacked in the Market Rasen area.
A group of Herdwick sheep, similar to those attacked in the Market Rasen area.
  • ‘Once dogs get a taste for chasing and worrying sheep, their instincts take over’

A local farmer has urged dog owners to ensure their animals are kept under control amid fears of other potential attacks.

This comes after 26 sheep were killed in what is believed to be an incident involving one or more dogs off Caistor Road in Osgodby on January 5.

Speaking to the Market Rasen Mail, Osgodby farmer Charles Jackson said that the coming weeks are a ‘crucial time’ for the farming community.

He said: “We are due to start lambing in five or six weeks.

“A dog attack would be particularly dangerous for us at this time.

“Once dogs get a taste for chasing and worrying sheep their instincts take over and they are likely to do it again.

“This is why we are particularly uneasy following the attack that happened recently and why it is also important that dogs are secure in homes or kennels overnight.”

According to the NFU, it is estimated more than 18,500 livestock were killed in the UK in 2015.

Despite those figures, Mr Jackson told the Mail that ‘to his knowledge’ the Rasen area had not experienced ‘an excess’ of livestock worrying incidents.

He said: “About five years ago, I had an incident whereby I happened upon a dog roaming in one of my sheep fields.

“Its owner had allowed it to roam and lost control.

“Thankfully, the dog did not worry the sheep but had caused them all to huddle together.

“Once they [dog owners] get off the beaten track they think they can just let their dogs off.

“It’s up to the owner to take responsibilty for their dogs and keep them under control.”

The attack in Osgodby earlier this month has shaken not just the local farming community but left a significant impression on the wider community .

Chairman of Kirkby cum Osgodby Parish Council Stephen Chester described the incident as ‘disturbing’.

He said: “This was truly a most disturbing incident and I hope that it will shock dog owners, of whom I am one, into realising the potential consequences of not keeping their dogs under control.

“It is not just larger dogs which can be a problem - I recently observed a Jack Russell enter a field and chase a small flock of sheep.

“There was no sign of anyone in charge of the dog and it had run off before I could reach it.

“At our next parish council meeting, I shall be reminding dog-owners that all dogs, regardless of size and previous behaviour, can be a menace to livestock and poultry and that owners must behave responsibly and considerately.”