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Cuerden Valley Park warning issued to dog walkers after sheep deaths

Posted on - 17th December, 2023 - 9:41am | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Lostock Hall, Parks, Penwortham, Preston News, South Ribble News, Wildlife and Conservation
Aerial view of Cuerden Valley Park Pic: BBC LDRS/Lancashire County Council
Aerial view of Cuerden Valley Park

A warning has been issued for dogs to be kept on leads at Cuerden Valley Park.

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It comes following two separate incidents where sheep have been attacked.

Bosses at Cuerden have released details of the attacks where three sheep have died.

Read more: Cuerden Valley Park sees major upgrade to footpaths

The first incident took place on Monday 11 December when a dog being walked off the lead entered a sheep field around 9am and chased and then attacked the flock.

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Five ewes and one ram were attacked and seriously injured, three sheep have since died and Cuerden Valley say ‘more deaths may follow’.

One of the sheep showing an injury sustained during the dog attack Pic: Cuerden Valley Park

The dog owner stayed on site and spoke to farmers and was described as ‘distraught’ at what had taken place.

A second incident then took place on Thursday 14 December where a second flock of sheep in the park were chased by an Alsatian dog.

No injuries occured during this time but Cuerden Valley say ‘there’s an increased risk the ewes will not carry their babies to term’. The dog owner fled the scene during this incident.

Cuerden Valley Park’s management say both incidents have been reported to Lancashire Police.

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Read more: Hare coursing near Preston tackled by rural crime task force

Chief executive of the park, Andrew Suter, said: “These sheep are currently in with the Ram, it is highly likely that some Ewe’s will have lost their lambs due to the stress. This is deeply upsetting for our farmers and no doubt many of you. It is also likely to be very costly for the farmer.

“No matter how well-behaved your dog is, you can never guarantee that your dog(s) will not run off to chase after sheep if it’s off lead. The sight and smells associated with a breeding flock and then later in spring with ewes birthing lambs can have an overwhelming effect on dogs.

“We repeatedly hear every year the “My dog would never” response. Unfortunately, far too often it is followed by “they had never done it before…

“In support of our farmers and ultimately dog walkers themselves, we are asking for your backing and understanding in changing dog walking behaviour around livestock. We’ve heard it many times and it is heartbreaking for both farmers and dog owners alike when the worst happens.

“Please keep your dogs on a lead in the park, particularly when around livestock. If crossing a field with Livestock your dog must be on a lead, no exceptions.

“Our staff team will be out and about in the park over the festive period and if approached please understand why you are being asked to put your dog on a lead.”

What’s the law around dogs and livestock?

The law states farmers can shoot a dog caught on their land worrying sheep or other livestock.

Dog owners can also face fines of up to £1,000 as well as additional compensation to farmers for the loss of livestock under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.

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