Farmers furious after latest dog attack mauls 20 sheep

Gordon Stoddart found the sheep on Wednesday morning. Picture: Lesley Martin
Gordon Stoddart found the sheep on Wednesday morning. Picture: Lesley Martin
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A FARMER has spoken of his distress after discovering eleven of his sheep mauled to death and a further nine badly injured following a dog attack.

Gordon Stoddart, 55, who has lived on Auchencorth Farm in Penicuik since 1975 and took over from his father five years ago, made the grisly discovery on Wednesday morning.

The sheep he found slaughtered. Picture: Lesley Martin

The sheep he found slaughtered. Picture: Lesley Martin

Seven ewes and four lambs were lost in the horrific attack.

Mr Stoddart said: “It was very upsetting. I found sheep lying on their backs, clearly very distressed, crying out and bleeding. Others had bites on the backs of their necks and some had torn sides. And then there were the ones who hadn’t survived, just lying there.”

This is the latest in a spate of attacks on livestock which has seen police put on extra patrols around the Pentland Hills area, advising dog walkers to keep their animals under control at all times.

Nine lambs were killed and a further six seriously injured when a “Dalmation-type” dog ran amok at the Pyramid Business Park in Bathgate, West Lothian on April 14. Back in November, Dalkeith farmer Mark Ross vowed to shoot dogs attacking his sheep after nine of his animals were also killed.

However, Mr Stoddart claims this is the first attack of its kind on his farm in decades.

He said: “I would say there hasn’t been an attack on this farm in at least twenty years. I don’t see many people walking their dogs around here, though I see people with their dogs off the lead in the nearby Penicuik estate all the time. They should really be more responsible, as should all dog owners taking their pet out to areas near livestock. They really need to be more aware of the dangers and the damage they can do.”

The National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) warned recently farmers were already facing difficulties after harsh weather early this year caused many young lambs to perish, with estimates suggesting the Lothians had lost as much as 20 per cent of lambs. NFUS communications director Bob Carruth said: “These kinds of events, though rare, are obviously very distressing for the farmers involved.”

A spokesman for National dog welfare charity The Dogs Trust said: “It is imperative that dog owners respect the laws and restrictions while enjoying countryside walks as they are in place to protect both dogs and livestock.”

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com