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East Lancashire farmers count cost of dog attacks on livestock
FARMERS in rural East Lancashire are counting the cost after a spate of dog attacks on their livestock.
Police are urging dog owners to keep their pets on leads after a sheep and lamb were killed over the weekend.
Several livestock were also injured during the sheep worrying incidents near Pendle Hill and West Bradford.
Dog owners could face a substantial fine if they are prosecuted.
And dogs risk being shot by farmers trying to protect their livestock, police said.
PC Tony Walsh, a rural community beat manager in the Ribble Valley, said: “It is important that dogs remain obedient and under control at all times to ensure there is no potential for them to chase or worry livestock. We will be taking positive action against irresponsible owners.
“Livestock are an important part of farmers’ livelihood and they would appreciate the public’s assistance in protecting their animals."
He said one farmer in Pendle had been verbally abused when he asked a dog walker to keep his animal on a lead.
“It’s a massive area and dog walkers frequently go up the Nick O’ Pendle.
"This farmer told me he gets abuse quite often. We are looking at getting some signs put up for farms that have got this issue and little flyers to put on windscreens to remind dog owners of their responsibilities.
“These are just household pets and owners may believe that their pets will not harm the animals. But a loose dog is distressing for the sheep and on occasion dogs do attack, and these attacks can be fatal.
“This can be a traumatic experience, not just for the sheep and the other animals in the field, but also for the farmer, whose livelihood is intrinsically tied to these animals.”