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Lisa Metcalf

West Yorkshire

"We have farmed our land near Bradford, West Yorkshire for more than 95 years and are fourth-generation farmers. In 2004 we started breeding Blue Texels. We also breed beef cows. We have approx 160 cattle and 100 sheep, goats, alpacas, chickens and horses. 

"We have had issues with dogs attacking and killing our sheep for as long as I can remember.

"We farm in an urban area so feel we are at a disadvantage to begin with as we have so many dog owners in close proximity.

"Over the course of 20 years we have suffered many dog attacks on our sheep and cattle. Every one causing death to as many as eight sheep at one time, I only farm a relatively small flock of no more than 70 ewes.

"In some of these cases the owners have taken responsibility and paid for the damages, however the worst attacks which took place two years ago and also an attack in October 2022. In these cases both owners admitted owning the dog’s responsible for the attacks, police were involved but were not willing to proceed with prosecutions. We breed pedigree Blue Texel and Dutch Spotted so the attack in 2022 has left us with a total financial loss of close to £3000. We took the owner to small claims court and won however it certainly wasn’t easy and I wouldn’t like to have to go through it again. 

"The latest attack was by two Alsatian dogs belonging to a local family who allowed their dogs to roam at random with absolutely no regard for our livestock. Despite asking them to keep their dogs in they repeatedly let them roam, this led to the animals being seized by the police. We hoped this would be the end of issues with these dogs but to our disappointment the police dropped the charges and returned the dogs. Fortunately for us the family has now moved away, but if they hadn’t I would have had to sell all of my sheep because they wouldn’t be safe ( we had to house all our sheep from October to March to protect them from these dogs). 

"We as many others feel we have no help legally to help prevent this happening again, there has to be a change in the law as the most recent attack has led us to have to make an insurance claim of more than £7000 which should have been paid by the dog owners."