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Keighley sheep farmers in plea to dog owners
A couple who keep sheep and lambs have urged dog owners to act responsibly following a spate of attacks on their animals.
Philip and Michelle Garbutt, of Wood Mill Farm, Laycock, Keighley , said the attacks left one lamb dead and two sheep seriously injured.
Mr Garbutt said the toll would have been higher if he and his father had not intervened during two of the incidents.
He said the grazing land was very close to a footpath and near woodland where people walk their dogs.
“We’ve had three separate dog-related attacks since the end of May,” he said. “In the last incident we had two sheep hurt and it’s touch and go as to whether they’ll survive because of the risk of infection.”
He and his wife have 21 sheep and lambs which they keep as a hobby, not to make a living.
Mr Garbutt, 28, said the first attack occurred on May 30, but he was able to chase away the two dogs before they could do any damage.
But on August 6 he and his wife found one of their lambs lying dead after it was mauled overnight. He said the lamb’s neck had been savaged and that this was consistent with the kind of wounds inflicted by a dog.
The latest attack took place on August 22. He said: “We heard some dogs barking and my dad went into the field to see a sheep was being savaged by two dogs. The dogs ran off towards Goose Eye.
“The sheep had panicked and, as well as the two that were injured, there were two which had run into the North Beck and got stuck. Three had got through fencing and were teetering on the edge of a cliff. They would have been running for their lives.”
He said the dogs involved on August 22 matched the appearance of those he chased off in May, a black lurcher-type hunting dog and a small black terrier.
Keighley West ward councillor, Jan Smithies, said: “People think they’re walking through woods and don’t realise they’re near farmland. They might think their dogs are just running off and playing in the woods, but in fact it’s very easy for them to get on to the land where the sheep are.”
A police spokesman said: “It is important that dog owners ensure their pets are kept secure and away from the potential to cause harm to livestock.
“If people have information about this latest incident or the owners of the dogs, please contact police on the non-emergency number 101.”
A fortnight ago, the Telegraph & Argus reported how dogs had savaged 19 sheep in a night-time attack at fields in Oxenhope .