Lewes horse trainer’s warning to dog owners after rise in sheep worrying

A horse trainer has issued a stark warning to dog owners following a rise in sheep worrying incidents.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 9:19 am
Updated Thursday, 7th January 2021, 9:20 am

Megan Poulton, a horse trainer who works on Balmer Farm in Lewes, said there were three incidents in just two days.

She told the Express: “We’ve noticed a marked increase in footfall and sheep worrying incidents during lockdown ranging from sheep being pushed through electric fencing to full on attacks.

“On Monday, December 28, there was a sheep pushed over the fence that had been attacked and left there in shock with various puncture wounds.

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“The following morning a dog off its lead chased the flock and then in the afternoon a sheep was attacked with the injuries to its head, side and back end.

“The police are involved and are dealing with the incidents.”

Megan said the attacks were ‘unacceptable and preventable’.

She added: “This is happening far too frequently.

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“Please keep dogs on leads around livestock regardless of how trustworthy you believe them to be.

“Whether you trust your dog or not is irrelevant – this kind of thing can and does happen all too often.”

In December, Lewes District Council warned people to keep their pets on leads near sheep after one was brutally killed and two others were left injured at Landport Bottom Nature Reserve in Lewes.

The sheep had its throat ripped out, with bite marks confirming it was a dog attack.

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Cllr Julie Carr, cabinet member for recycling, waste and open spaces, said: “Due to Covid-19 restrictions, many more people have been exploring their local countryside which is a great thing but has brought problems too.

“Dogs have sometimes been allowed to roam free in areas where they should be kept on a lead, with owners not necessarily realising the risk of harm to farm animals.”

Ms Carr said it was important to realise even well-behaved dogs may still need to be kept on a lead.