FARMER warns dog owners after sheep savaged on Therfield Heath
PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 11 May 2010
A FARMER has warned dog owners he may shoot their animals on sight if he catches them attacking his flock after one of his sheep was savaged on Therfield Heath. Robert Law, who runs Thrift Farm, has installed signs informing dog owners that his sheep graz
A FARMER has warned dog owners he may shoot their animals on sight if he catches them attacking his flock after one of his sheep was savaged on Therfield Heath.
Robert Law, who runs Thrift Farm, has installed signs informing dog owners that his sheep graze on the common land of the heath every summer, but some owners have not taken heed of his notices and allow their animals to intimidate his flock.
Last week one of his sheep was killed after two lurcher dogs attacked it after they had jumped over the separating electric fence while being allowed to run free on the heath.
Now Mr Law says he has had enough.
"The owners parked in the car park on Therfield Road and released their dogs," Mr Law said.
"The dogs ran to the other end of the heath where my sheep were and jumped over the fence, where they chased one down and attacked it.
"The owners must have been perfectly aware what their animals had done because the dogs would have come back to the car with blood on their snouts.
"One of my sheep died but there could have been more of them.
"It's horrible for sheep to be chased and attacked by a dog while the other animals get stressed and worried.
"We've put up signs warning people that there are sheep grazing, but if it continues and any dogs are actively going for my animals, I will shoot them on sight."
Mr Law said he was the only local farmer to take his sheep on the heath every summer, and this incident would not deter him from continuing to exercise his right to allow them to graze.
The 420-acre heath, which is one of the last surviving pieces of natural chalk/grass downland in the region, is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, and sheep are allowed to graze on the area to control scrub growth and to maintain the important areas of short turf.