On Saturday 4 December 2021, at around 5.50pm, the owner of a farm in Alkham Valley Road saw a grey, scraggy haired, dog which looked similar to a lurcher, in amongst her sheep. She shouted and the dog ran away in the direction of Green Lane. Six of her sheep had died and four were affected by the ordeal and continue to receive medical care.
The following day, on 5 December in Wolverton Hill, seven sheep from another farm were found dead. It is believed they were attacked by an animal but it is not clear when this took place.
Overnight on 6 December the farm in Alkham Valley Road reported a second attack in which two more sheep were killed and one was seriously injured.
PC Dan Perry said: ‘We are taking this opportunity to urge all dog owners who may be walking their pets in the countryside to keep them on leads around livestock. These were nasty incidents, which has led to distressing injuries and the deaths of livestock.
‘As well as the suffering caused, attacks can lead to huge financial losses for farmers and when a dog has a taste for killing and maiming sheep it often returns.
‘We know that the majority of dog owners do take care around livestock but we would like to remind everyone to follow signs and stick to footpaths, as they are there to protect you and your dog, and to make your walk safe for all. It is also really important to check your properties and gardens are secure when you have dogs.’
Facts about sheep-worrying:
- Under the Animals Act 1971, a person acting to protect livestock may be able to kill or injure a dog that he/she reasonably believes is ‘worrying’ without incurring any criminal or civil liability.
- As a dog owner or a person for the time being in charge of a dog, you could be committing an offence if your pet worries livestock on agricultural land.
- Worrying includes attacking or chasing livestock in a way that might reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or loss.
- It can also be an offence to have a dog in a field or enclosed space where there are sheep when the dog is not on a lead or under close control.
Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious or who has information regarding the dog sighting is asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting references 04-1449 for Alkham Valley Road and 05-0416 for Wolverton Hill.