Sheep kill a bloody mess

A FRUSTRATED farmer will shoot on sight any dog caught roaming his property after losing 16 sheep to grisly attacks in recent weeks.

David Gowing is fed up at being “plagued” by attacks on his flock and has pleaded with owners to secure their pets.

The 73-year-old, who farms with his daughter Stephanie Cayley on Old Winton Rd, said he would not hesitate to take matters into his own hands.

“These days I’m carrying a rifle and any dog I see on my property, I will shoot,” he said. “I’m very, very anxious to get these attacks stopped.

“I’ve also arranged with council to set up a dog trap, so that if we catch a dog we will know who owns it and be prepared to take action against them.”

The attacks began in late October and appear to occur only at night and on weekends.

With each lamb worth between $80 and $120 at market, Mr Gowing said the economic impact was “significant”.

Despite having seen it all during more than half a century of farming, he said it was distressing to discover badly-mauled animals in his paddocks.

“I would believe that the owners are neglecting to tie up or otherwise contain their dogs on some occasions," Mr Gowing said.

“That’s why the attacks are spasmodic and I think the dogs have now learnt this little trick and whenever they’re unrestrained at night they’ll continue to attack sheep.

“I don’t think the message is getting across and I think there are many people who don’t realise the damage their dogs can do.”

Under the Companion Animals Act, the owner of a dog that injures or kills another animal is liable for prosecution, while farmers are within their rights to destroy a dog that is on their land and posing a threat to their livestock.

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