Lambs killed by dog running loose in field

THREE sheep were injured and four unborn lambs died after a loose dog ran amok on a farm in Westfield.

Farmer Elizabeth Collins went to feed the 50 sheep at Sandhole Farm in Westfield Lane last Wednesday morning (March 14) when she made the grizzly discovery.

Elizabeth said: “I checked them on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday morning at 9.30am I went to feed them and found blood on their necks.”

One pregnant ewe, which had been bitten in the face, was found in a nearby field.

Elizabeth said: “The poor little thing obviously ran in panic and I found her a field away. I thought the shock would have killed her.”

The sheep was carrying four lambs, but the traumatic attack caused the ewe to miscarry.

Sandhole Farm backs onto Maplehurst Wood, which stretches from Westfield Lane to The Ridge in Hastings.

A public footpath runs between the farm and woodland, which is popular with dog walkers.

Elizabeth said: “My gut feeling is the owner was with the dog. People need to be aware they do need to keep dogs on leads at these times of the year. The bites were on the neck and the point of the shoulder.

“I feel this is probably a small dog because otherwise the damage would have been greater.”

Elizabeth said it is the first time there had been such an incident on her farm.

But police have received a number of reports of similar incidents in nearby villages in recent weeks.

Last month a number of sheep were killed and injured when two dogs went on the rampage at two adjoining farms in Pett.

Sheep worrying has also been reported in the Rye Harbour area.

PC Paul Fielder, of Rye Police, said officers have seen an increase in reported incidents as the lambing season gets underway.

He said: “It seems to be something we are seeing an increase of. It’s that time of year when the weather gets better, people take their dogs out a lot and do not realise there are sheep in the field.

“Farmers are well-within their right to shoot a dog if they are caught worrying sheep on their land.”

Owners of dogs caught worrying sheep could face hefty fines of up to £1,000 or a dog control order, forcing owners to keep their animals on leads and muzzled in public, could be imposed.

And any dog which attacks sheep could end up being destroyed.

PC Fielder added: “A lot of dog walkers are perfectly responsible, but if someone witnesses a dog running off a lead near livestock, they can give us a call.”

Anyone with any information about the incident at Westfield, or to report an incident of sheep worrying, call Sussex Police on 101.