Farmer's warning after sheep 'bitten through windpipe' in savage dog attack
PUBLISHED: 12:36 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:07 16 November 2018
A north Norfolk farmer is warning of the risks dogs pose to farm animals after one of his sheep had its throat ripped open in a savage attack.
Stephen Yarham, who grazes sheep and cattle in north Norfolk, was forced to put the injured ewe down after fighting for over a week to save its life.
Mr Yarham, 47, discovered his flock had been attacked in the early afternoon of Monday, November 5, when someone flying a model aircraft alerted him that one of his sheep was loose.
He said: “I graze sheep at Muckleburgh tank museum and there must have been a dog walker on the beach. The dog came in and disturbed all the sheep.
“It sent one through the wire and attacked another one which we were fighting to keep alive but we’ve now had to put down.”
Mr Yarham said: “It was bitten on its neck and right through into its windpipe so it was breathing through its neck.
“We had the vet out yesterday but there was nothing to be done.”
Mr Yarham, from Kettlestone, keeps Highland cattle at Wiveton Downs. and grazes Scottish black face sheep - which he believes he is the only breeder of in Norfolk - at Muckleburgh, near Weybourne.
He said dog attacks were becoming a significant issue for farmers across the country.
“It’s costing the industry quite a bit of money with lost stock and worrying the animals,” he said.
“This is the second time. In November last year we had one attacked on Wiveton Downs which we managed to save.
“It’s just trying to make the public aware of the need to keep dogs on leads and keep a close eye on them.
“Livestock get spooked quite easily with dogs around. It’s never the dogs’ fault - it’s the owners.”
He added: “We’re now getting ready for lambing next year, so it’s a crucial time.
“It’s quite a considerable loss over the course of the year if you lose a ewe like that, who would have been in lambing.
“You’re losing two lives not just one and it can put all your breeding out as well because all the ewes are upset.
“It’s always hard to put a figure on it but for livestock farmers it’s quite an impact and can be costly.”
Mr Yarham reported the attack in the previous year to the police, but was told there wasn’t much they were able to do, which he said was understandable.
“It could be any one of hundreds of dogs,” he said.