Plea from Ham Hill Rangers to keep your dog under control

Ham Hill Countryside Rangers spent Thursday morning trying to capture and contain a grey and white greyhound that spent two hours chasing and mauling the grazing sheep in the flat fields at Ham Hill Country Park.

The dog was running amok amongst the flock and is known to have injured at least two of the grazing ewes, but probably more, and we will only know after the shepherd has checked the flock fully.

At the time of the attack, the famer was called and asked to attend, as catching the dog was proving impossible and the last resort was for it to be shot. The greyhound eventually made away towards the car parks and Rangers are led to believe that the dog was caught by its owner and quickly loaded into a vehicle and driven swiftly away.

South Somerset District Council is appealing for any witnesses to come forward following the attack and a spokesman said, "Did you see the dog owner, or the vehicle and its registration plate? We need to speak to the owner about this incident; it was very serious and almost resulted in their pet being shot. The dog eventually made off in a different direction but the owner still has a responsibility to compensate our farmer for his coming vet bills."

Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Countryside added, "Signs are always erected on the gateways advising the walking public when livestock are in place, so please make sure your dogs are on a lead and under control. The District Council and farmer are prepared to take the strongest course of action if an out of control dog is caught worrying sheep. If you are witness to such an incident please do call the farmer or ranger teams; the mobile numbers are on the gateway posters.

"A dog attack is very traumatic for the whole flock. Sheep have been known to die simply from shock, although usually the wounds inflicted by just one dog bite are sufficient to kill."

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, it is an offence to allow a dog to worry (attack and chase) livestock on agricultural land. The offence is enforced by the Police and could result in a fine.

If anyone knows anything please contact the District Council on 01935 462462 or the rangers on 01935 823617 or via email countryside@southsomerset.gov.uk.