Peak District farmers "tearing hair out" over dogs chasing livestock
A Peak Dictrict farm posted images on social media after one heavily pregnant sheep was attacked and ten ewes in lamb were chased near Hathersage.
North Lees Hall Farm reported on Facebook that a ‘lurcher-type’ dog had chased the animals from Stanage Pole onto Stanage Moor on Sunday, April 4.
Nick Denniff, North Lees tenant farmer, who farms around 6000 acres covering Stanage, Burbage, Fox House, Owler Barr, Totley Moss, said farmers were “sick and tired” of dogs chasing sheep and livestock.
“The problem has been getting worse as dog ownership increased during the pandemic and more people come to the countryside.” He said.
"We understand why they come, but I don’t know any farmer who isn’t tearing their hair out over dogs at the moment.”
“Over the past ten days, I’ve seen at least four incidents of dogs worrying sheep watching from Hook’s Carr car park.
"I try to talk to people, educate them. It’s a nationwide problem. Not all farmers are as nice as me, some think nothing of shooting dogs chasing sheep.
“The ewe attacked was not ours. The images were posted because we wanted people in the Peaks to be aware and keep dogs on leads at all times. As farmers, we urge people to be mindful, respect that sheep lamb from December right through April.
Shepherd Kath Birkinshaw is a National Trust tenant farmer in the Upper Derwent Valley responsible for a 1600 hectare sheep farm, moorland and 500 ewes.
She said: “It’s the sheep’s instinct to run at perceived danger and it’s the dog’s imprinted instinct to chase. It doesn’t matter how nice your dog might be. We once had 300 ewes chased by a King Charles Cavalier.
“It is not only sheep that can be disturbed but ground nesting birds like the curlew, lapwing, snipe, grouse and ring ouzel.”
NFU’s Derbyshire county adviser Andrew Critchlow said “Only last Monday in Edale, I saw cows running towards the road chased by a dog. It could have caused a serious accident.
“On open land access the rules are clear, dogs should be kept on a lead, no more than two metres between March 1 and July 31. We encourage to people to always keep dogs on leads to protect sheep and livestock, but also the wildlife and rare nesting bids.”