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Farmer defends decision to shoot dog worrying sheep

By Cheddar Valley Gazette  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

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A farmer has had to shoot a dog caught worrying his sheep by Cheddar reservoir.

The water hole is a popular destination for dog walkers. But Axbridge farmer Paul Athay had to take steps to protect his flock, which grazes there, on Monday.

It follows the death of one of his sheep by a dog four weeks ago. The sheep had its neck broken and a hole ripped in its throat.

Mr Athay said: “I won’t hesitate to shoot a dog if it is worrying my sheep. I’ve always had a problem with sheep worrying. Dog walkers are out there throwing balls for their dogs who are off their leads. But instead the dogs chase my sheep. People seem to think there’s no problem and that there’s nothing wrong with it.”

The owner of the shot dog was at the scene and apparently understanding of the situation, said Mr Athay. He believes the worst types of dogs to chase sheep were not large dogs but labradors and spaniels. The incident follows a dog attack at Dolebury Warren Nature Reserve which killed seven sheep and injured ten others.

Landowner Bristol Water reminds visitors to the reservoir that dogs are to be kept on leads at all times.

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