Dog blamed for killing entire flock of sheep

UPSET: John Knight and his wife Liz on the land where seven of their sheep have been killed.
UPSET: John Knight and his wife Liz on the land where seven of their sheep have been killed.

Savage attacks on sheep in Clare have left the owners of a smallholding without a flock for the first time in two decades.

John Knight and his wife Liz, who live at Mill House, have seen seven sheep kept on land surrounding their Grade II listed home killed in the space of six weeks.

The couple believe the attacks, which were all carried out during the day, are the work of a large dog.

“It is very distressing to find blood and wool everywhere,” said Mr Knight.

“A dog has attacked the sheep and it is a very unpleasant way for them to go, with fear, blood and punctured necks, followed by a slow death.”

The attacks were carried out on three separate occasions, with the first discovery of two dead sheep coming at the end of December.

A further three sheep were found dead on January 3 and the latest incident saw two sheep killed between 9am and 4pm on January 30.

Mr Knight, who has lived at Mill House since 1984 and kept sheep on the land for the majority of that time, said he wanted dog owners to be aware of the problem and to keep their animals on leads.

“My wife is very upset,” said the 66-year-old. “We have had sheep here for a long time.

“I think that a dog which is being put in the garden during the day is getting out and carrying out these attacks. No-one is taking responsibility and we don’t know how to go forward.

“Dogs that have a tendency to take an interest in sheep need to stay on a lead.”

Mr Knight said the police had been informed about the deaths, but officers needed witnesses to come forward.

He added that the attacks had left him out of pocket, with each sheep costing around £70.

“For some people, this is their livelihood and the dog that is doing this needs to be found,” said Mr Knight.

“It is a shame because we like to let the young children see the sheep when they pass and we are coming into lambing season.

“Lots of people get a lot of pleasure from seeing the sheep and we can’t restock until the dog is under control because it could happen again. The last thing we want is any more deaths.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 101.