Farmers' warning to dog walkers
7:03am Thursday 30th January 2014 in Penarth news
A PENARTH farmer is warning dog walkers to keep their pets on leads after an “out of control” Doberman terrorised her flock of sheep.
The incident happened on Wednesday morning, January 22, when a woman’s dog ran into Old Cogan Hall Farm and bundled into sheep, including some that were heavily pregnant, as they were grazing in the field.
The dog “frightened” the sheep, knocking them over and into the brambles, and even pushed one of them into a stream at the bottom of the garden.
Lisa Corbett-Bailey, who has worked at the farm for the last 18 years, said that they called the police and considered shooting the dog with a shotgun “as a last resort” as they were concerned about the safety of their livestock.
It is a criminal offence for owners to allow dogs to “worry livestock on agricultural land” and farmers are entitled to shoot them. Worrying livestock is defined as attacking livestock, chasing livestock or being at large in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.
The farm, which also breeds pigs and turkeys as well as sheep, is based at the end of Mile Lane that runs through Cosmeston Country Park, and is a thoroughfare to Sully Road.
Lisa, who runs the farm with her husband Trevor Bailey, said that the dog was “out of control” until she eventually managed to restrain it.
“My husband gave the dog’s owner 10 minutes to get it under control but she was adamant it wasn’t out of control, it was ‘only playing’,” she said.
“It got to the point where we said we were going to get the gun.
“That’s the very last resort as we don’t want to be shooting dogs.”
She added that dog walkers should keep their pets on leads to prevent them from worrying the livestock, and that some people were bringing their dogs for walks without even bringing leads with them.
“I would like people to be aware of the boundary of the farm and to respect the farm and its livestock,” she said.
“The majority of dog walkers do that, but the small minority put farm livestock at risk.
“It’s making people aware that it’s a farm boundary, as its difficult enough farming in Wales in 2014 if you don’t have the respect and support of the local community and local dog walkers.”
She said that better signage warning dog walkers to keep their pets on leads near farms would help, and that stronger fencing on the farm boundary would stop dogs getting into the field with livestock.
She added that they were concerned about the welfare of the sheep and how they would be affected by the ordeal.
“We won’t know for months what the outcome of this is, whether some of them are stillborn now,” she said.
“You imagine someone barging into your house and chasing you and your family around, you would think you are going to die. Some of them would be physically exhausted as they are heavily pregnant.”
Her husband Trevor Bailey, who has been farming for 35 years, added: “We don’t want to be shooting dogs but at the end of the day it’s our livelihood and we have to protect our jobs. It’s the last thing we want.”