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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Barrow dog ‘didn’t deserve to die’

A DEVASTATED pet owner has described how her five-year-old daughter has cried herself to sleep every night since their dog was shot dead by a farmer.

Debra Proctor’s collie, Maxi, escaped from her Barrow home in Whinlatter Drive on Saturday morning.

Miss Proctor spent the entire day searching for the missing two-year-old until her sister managed to contact the nearby Rakesmoor Farm.

The farmer confirmed to Miss Proctor the dog had been shot on the farm on Saturday afternoon because he had been “worrying sheep”.

Miss Proctor, 44, said Maxi was a “gentle” dog who would not harm any animals, but was prone to rounding up sheep due to his breed.

She said her daughter, Jessica, had taken the news particularly hard.

“I had to tell my daughter, who has been crying for two days – she’s been crying herself to sleep,” said Miss Proctor.

“She has stuck photos of him together, along with a letter, and put it on the wall.

“We’re devastated. They should’ve shot the gun in the air. He didn’t deserve to die.”

The Criminal Damage Act 1971 states an individual has a lawful excuse for damaging or destroying property, including an animal, belonging to someone else if the aim of destroying or damaging the property is to protect property belonging to himself or another which is in immediate need of protection and the means of protection adopted is reasonable in all the circumstances.

Carl Hudspith, National Farmers’ Union spokesman, said: “Before shooting a dog, the farmer should consider whether there are any other options reasonably available to him.

“For example, does firing a warning shot scare the dog away? Can they get near enough to the dog to catch it without putting themselves in danger?

“Shooting the dog should always be the last resort.”

Martyn Fletcher, a Cumbria RSPCA inspector, said: “Our advice would very much be for people to keep their dogs on a lead around farmland and that avoids any problems.

“We do prosecute where the rules are transgressed. The rules are complex, but farmers do have the right to shoot dogs which are worrying sheep because it can cause a lot of damage.”

The farmer, who asked not to be named, said he had spent some time trying to persuade Maxi to leave the sheep and shooting the dog had been a last resort.

He also said he had seen blood in the sheep's pen.

A police spokeswoman said: “On Saturday 12 January at 12.40 pm, Cumbria Police were informed of an incident in which a dog, which was unsupervised , was attacking sheep on the farm and had to be destroyed.

“Farmers are able to lawfully destroy any animal which goes onto their land and causes harm or attacks animals on their property. The police will not be taking any action in this case.

"Police would like to remind dog owners to keep their animals on a lead when near livestock, even if they have never chased animals, as a precaution.”

In response to the police statement, Miss Proctor wished to say: "I can't believe Maxi would've ever attacked the sheep - he was a sheep dog."

Have your say

Everyone just needs to realise that Sheep know when farmers dogs are chasing them. they enjoy being rounded up. This does not stress them in any way. They also get pinned down and shaved with noisy clippers. But actually they find it quite relaxing. They also get hauled about in noisy camped trailers. But Sheep dont mind this. They end up in slaughter houses where they are humanely slaughtered using massive jolts of electricity. Its all very serene.

Just, whatever you do.... Do not allow YOUR dog near them. They might keel over and die.

Posted by Doug on 29 January 2013 at 14:04

I feel sorry for the child whose pet has died, but agree with the farmer. Irresponsible dog owners, who allow dogs to escape and allow them to run free should be fined. Last year a bulldog ran after my child into his own house. Frightening my child who now has a fear of dogs. Once an animal has the taste for killing and blood its twice as likely to kill again, sheep, child, cat. If that was my income and life stock which is probably in season this time of year, I would have shot the dog also.

Posted by Willow on 19 January 2013 at 19:09

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