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Dogs risk being shot as spate of sheep deaths and maimings is reported across Kent

By KentOnline reporter

Dogs could be shot as police report a worrying trend in sheep attacks across the county.

Owners are being urged to keep their pets under control around livestock, as they're reminded farmers are within their rights to kill dogs if they cause distress to flocks.

As well as the suffering caused to livestock, dog attacks can lead to huge financial losses for farmers - with each ewe or lamb valued at around £180 each.

One of Roger Cooper’s sheep after being attacked by dogs

One farmer was left counting the cost earlier this month after around 40 sheep and lambs were either killed or injured following attacks in Marden and Staplehurst.

Rural partnership officer PC Daphne Allen said: "Dogs left unattended and off the lead can destroy months of hard work and preparation in just a few minutes.

"We have around six sheep worrying incidents a month throughout Kent, where dogs are not only killing sheep, but are also chasing pregnant ewes, which in turn causes the miscarriage of lambs.

"When a dog has a taste for killing and maiming sheep it often returns.

Farmer Roger Cooper in his field where sheep have been attacked for a second time

"Sadly, we have already had one incident this year where a farmer has reluctantly shot a dog to prevent further attacks."

Owners are reminded by police they could be committing an offence if their animal worries livestock on agricultural land.

Worrying includes attacking or chasing livestock "in a way that might reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or loss."

It is also an offence to have a dog in a field or enclosed space where there are sheep when the dog is not on a lead or under close control.

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