Dog owners must control their pets

by Ruth Kimber.

ENJOYING and enduring the cold weather! For sure it’s doing good to our soils and killing off some of the bugs. The pictures of frosty fields and hoar frost on trees and foliage is a lovely winter sight, which we haven’t had much of over the last few years.
However, minus 5 degrees and so on doesn’t come alone – when the frost is out, no doubt there will be fractured pipes and other things to deal with. We have had a few problems keeping water to the animals, including the garden birds, which also need water.
Sadly, we also lost an 18 month dairy heifer – she slipped on ice and broke her leg and had to be destroyed. Such a loss, and to add to it we have to pay for her to be taken away. Years ago, these losses were paid for by the ‘knacker man’, who took away the body and made use of it in various ways.
We were having a family gathering on New Year’s Day when Darren had a call that one of his sheep had been attacked by a large local dog. It had gone for its throat and shoulder. The other sheep had been chased and there’s no knowing if they had subsequently lost their lambs. We will have to wait and see.
It underlines again the problem of loose dogs out of control in the countryside. Not only farm animals are at risk but wild animals – if a deer is injured but not killed its fate is for a long-suffering death.

In our village we have had several such attacks on livestock in recent years.
So yet again a plea goes out to dog owners – keep your dogs away from livestock. It is a dog owner’s legal responsibility to keep their dogs under strict control and know where they are at all times. A farmer/owner has the right to protect their animals, and if a dog is found attacking a sheep it can be legally shot.
The local police have been most helpful and are active in this matter.
When buying a puppy, it so important to match the dog with its home, space, ability to exercise, suitability to live with children and other animals and so on. All puppies look sweet and appealing but grow into animals with specific needs – some that are most suited to work become bored and often troublesome.
Multiple dogs turn into packs and can chase and kill as part of their ‘natural pack behaviour’. During lockdown there was a greater demand for puppies with maybe heart rather than head driving some of the purchases. Those same puppies are now fully grown and sadly the dog homes have had a glut of unwanted pets.

Kimber’s Farm Shop, The Kitchen at Kimbers, Somerset Trading Barn; Linley Farm Charlton Musgrove BA9 8HD, phone: 01963 33177;,; opening times Tuesday-Friday 8.30am-5pm; Saturday 9.30am-4pm.

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