Lambs die in sheep worrying incident

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Two lambs died and thirteen sheep were injured in a sheep worrying incident in Rasharkin last week.

The incident, which happened at Gortahar Road on Wednesday, was described as “one of the worst in a long time” by Ballymoney Council’s Environmental Officer, Karen Mitchell.

“As a direct result of the attack one lamb was found dead at the scene. Another lamb had to be humanely put to sleep. Thirteen others - a mixture of ewes and lambs - were also injured some with very serious wounds requiring veterinary treatment,” Karen told the Times.

“It is expected that some of the injured may not survive the trauma. On arrival at the scene, I found a harrowing site. The sheep were covered in bites and also lacerations received from trying to escape over wire to get a way from their attackers.

“This type of incident is traumatic for the animals and also for the farmers concerned. They care for these animals and spend sleepless nights helping ewes deliver their lambs so you can understand the devastation to see the result from an attack by dogs.

“These type of incidents can be so easily avoided simply by dog owners ensuring that their pets are kept within their own properties at all times unless under control i.e. on a lead.

“The majority of dog owners are indeed responsible people but unfortunately there is still a minority who are not. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to the minority of owners to look at their situations and to ensure that they know exactly where their dogs are at all times and that they are always under control.

“I would like the owner of the dogs to have seen what the farmer concerned had to face on Wednesday morning and also the continued work involved to try and bring the remainder of this flock back to health. Obviously there is also a substantial finanancial cost in the loss and also the veterinary care needed,

“I can be contacted on 02827660257 if any Ballymoney and Moyle Times readers has any information relevant to the incident, all information will be treated in the strictest confidence,” added.

The Council has a statutory role in the enforcement of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983. The dog control service is responsible for issues including dog licensing, stray dogs, barking dogs and dog attacks.

Council advises dog owners that even letting a dog walk in the same field as farm animals may be considered as “worrying”. Remember the farmer is entitled to kill your dog if it is worrying livestock.