Dogs Continue to Attack Sheep on the Burrows
 
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Dogs Continue to Attack Sheep on the Burrows

Dogs not kept under control by their owners are still causing havoc on Northam Burrows.

Over the last 2 years countless numbers of sheep have been injured and about a dozen killed in an ongoing battle between dogs and livestock on the Burrows.

Allowing a dog to chase livestock, even in an apparently playful manner, can lead to serious distress and injury. It is also a criminal offence and Officers of Torridge District Council are in discussion with Devon & Cornwall Police over the best way to identify and deal with offenders.

And it's not just sheep that are suffering. The general disturbance to wildlife – and in particular at this time of the year the wildfowl and waders – is a cause for concern, said Northam Burrows Senior Ranger Shawn Corin. "The vast majority of dog owners coming to the Burrows do behave responsibly, control their dogs, pick up the mess and cause no problems whatsoever. But unfortunately some don't, and this can lead to tragic consequences, causing death and injury to sheep and wildlife."

The Bideford Police Neighbourhood Beat Team has been working closely with the Council on dog related problems on the Burrows and elsewhere.

PC Dick Rowlands said, "It is a criminal offence to allow a dog to attack or chase livestock. We really need responsible dog owners and Burrows users to report these incidents as soon as they can. We need good descriptions of the dog, the owner and their car, especially the registration number. Write it all down if you can Then call us on the '101' Police telephone number and report it."

The Council's Environmental Protection Manager, David Morgan, confirmed "I will be looking carefully at the powers available to the Council and the Police in this area. It is crucial that a clear message goes out to the small number of dog owners who do not keep proper control of their dogs. It is not acceptable that lambs and sheep are being injured and killed in such an unnecessary manner."

Lead Member for the Natural and Built Environment, Cllr Gaye Tabor added, "These instances of sheep worrying must stop, especially as it's lambing season now. I urge people to act responsibly, keep their dogs under control and respect the wildlife and animals on the Burrows. It's a wonderful natural resource for all of us – let's keep it that way."

Anyone with any information regarding any of the instances mentioned above - such as the type and colour of dog, description of the owner and the type and registration number of any car they use - can contact the Police on 101, the Burrows Centre on 01237 479708, or Environmental Protection on 01237 428810 (those people reporting an offence can remain anonymous).

05 March 2012