An Otley smallholder is urging dog owners to control their animals after one went on a deadly “rampage” through a flock of sheep.
The incident happened on the lower slopes of Otley Chevin on Sunday, April 13, when a loose Japanese Akita killed one lamb, seriously injured another and mauled several more.
A landowner who shares the field with the Poll Dorset flock’s owner and keeps his own sheep on there, too, had been fencing nearby and was on the shocking scene soon afterwards.
He said: “The owner of a property close by had seen and heard what was happening and caught and penned the dog.
“They put one of the lambs in their stables and it was just bleeding all over the place. Seeing the aftermath of such blood lust is distressing to say the least.
“The Akita went through the flock and did all the damage in minutes.
“People should not be letting their dogs off the leash to run riot. I’ve got a dog, a terrier, and I don’t let him off when there are other terriers around or near livestock.
“This was a big, dangerous dog whose breed has a reputation. Why it was allowed to run free on the Chevin beggars belief as these animals should be kept on a lead and muzzled in public places.”
The lamb suffered neck, shoulder and leg injuries during the attack and was not expected to live, but has thankfully recovered sufficiently to allow it to be put back with the flock this week.
The flock owner was initially going to contact the police but ended up reaching an agreement with the dog owner.
His fellow landowner, meanwhile, hopes future visitors to the Chevin get the message to keep their animals under control –or face potentially dire consequences.
He said: “I would ask all dog owners to keep their pets on a short leash around livestock at all times of the year, and not allow them out of their sight.
“Livestock owners who suffer losses are entitled to have any offending dog destroyed if the perpetrator is known.
“This dog was let loose on the top of the Chevin, at Surprise View, where you get a lot of visitors coming from Bradford or Leeds who are perhaps not aware of how their dog should behave in the countryside.
“Coming up to Easter, a busy time when people want to visit beautiful places like Otley Chevin, I would remind them that with pet ownership comes strong responsibilities.”
Russell Farm in Otley, off Leeds Road, issued a similar plea in April eight years ago after a spate of bloody attacks on its sheep and lambs left owners David and Sue Lawson with five dead and four wounded animals. West Yorkshire Police were called in on that occasion to investigate the incidents.