Pregnant ewes attacked in sheep worrying ordeal near Jedburgh
Calls are being made for Borders dog-owners to keep tighter control of their pets around sheep ahead of lambing season.
That plea come after a flock of pregnant ewes was targeted near Jedburgh last Friday, leaving two lucky to be alive, and a question mark hanging over the fate of more than 100 unborn lambs.
Ann Lamb and her husband John, owners of a flock of 66 North Country Cheviots at Earlshaugh, near Camptown, say the unattended dog in question was left loose among their flock for over half an hour.
Ann said: “The whole lot were worried and two were mauled.
“The vet stitched them all together but it was through to the bone. You could see the skull, they will be disfigured but they will live.”
But the fate of the 66 pairs of unborn lambs, all due in April, remains to be seen.
“One of them that was attacked, we think might have lost her lambs, but we don’t know about the rest as yet. We won’t know until we start finding wee bodies in the sheep shed,” Ann said.
“They might look alright on the outside but we don’t know what damage is done on the inside.”
It comes despite a nationwide campaign attempting to raise awareness amongst dog owners about the potentially devastating effects of livestock worrying, launched last month ahead of lambing season.
NFU Scotland policy manager Gemma Cooper added: “Despite a vast amount of awareness raising, livestock worrying remains a blight on Scottish livestock farming.
“As we are now into lambing, NFUS would remind the public that they should not take access in fields with very young lambs, but should find an alternative route.”
“Folk are still ignorant to it,” Ann added. “The dog in question had been running loose in the field unattended for over half an hour.
“There is a major campaign dog control around sheep at lambing time - but obviously there are those who see fit not to take heed.”
Ann and John have farmed sheep for over six years, but it’s their first experience of sheep worrying.
“You always think ‘it will never happen to us’ but you just don’t know,” Ann added. “It is gruesome, but folk need to see what’s happening.
“The dogs think it’s a game. They start biting and then they get the blood and that’s when it all goes wrong. The owners are at fault, not the dogs.
“It’s just ignorance, folk thinking their dogs would never do it.
“This is affecting far too many farmers so folk need to see the photographs, no matter how gruesome.”
A police spokeswoman said: “A 26-year-old woman has been charged following an incident of sheep worrying at a farm near Jedburgh on Friday. March 2, a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.”
Farmers and those who use the countryside are urged to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.