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Skilled canine walker fined for double sheep assault

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Knowledgeable canine walker has been ordered to pay compensation to 2 farmers after a Dobermann beneath his supervision attacked sheep in two separate incidents.

Peter Stonehouse, 58, who runs WoofNBoots Canine Strolling and Pet Providers, was sentenced at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court docket on Thursday (6 Might) after pleading responsible to the 2 offences of sheep worrying beneath the Canine (Safety of Livestock Act) 1953.

In complete, Mr Stonehouse was ordered to pay £1,999.65, together with fines, court docket prices and sufferer compensation.

On 23 December final 12 months, Mr Stonehouse was answerable for a Dobermann canine which was concerned in a sheep worrying incident at Winslade, a hamlet close to Basingstoke.

See additionally: What to do if you happen to’re a sufferer of… sheep worrying

A farmworker witnessed the canine chasing a flock of Lleyn cross Texel sheep, the court docket was instructed. The canine was seen to chunk a number of the lambs – one ewe lamb was later discovered with extreme chunk marks inflicting tears to its entrance leg.

One other canine walker who was strolling with Mr Stonehouse caught the canine. The farmworker took {a photograph} of the disk on the canine’s harness to maintain as proof.

One among Tim Cooke’s injured ewe lambs © Tim Cooke

The next day, a vet was known as to the farm to deal with the injured sheep. The invoice was about £350, together with callout charges and medicines.

Second assault

Whereas Hampshire Police have been investigating this incident, they acquired reviews of a second canine assault on sheep within the Basingstoke space on 25 January.

On this event, Mr Stonehouse was strolling the identical Dobermann canine at Ewhurst Park, in Ramsdell, Tadley.

Whereas off its lead, the Dobermann scented sheep in a area about three-quarters of a mile away and ran off. Mr Stonehouse chased after it. He was in a position to monitor the situation of the canine by means of a monitoring system on its harness.

Within the area, the unfastened canine chased a flock of New Zealand Romney lambs till it was caught, completely exhausted.

Six lambs died in that assault, three because of their accidents from chunk puncture wounds. The opposite three died from shock and stress from the trauma of being chased.

The flock is run on rented land by Gordon Wyeth, a former Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the 12 months who manages about 20,000 sheep throughout the south of England. 

On 7 February, Mr Stonehouse attended Basingstoke Police Station voluntarily and admitted being answerable for the Doberman canine on the time of each incidents.

At Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court docket, Mr Stonehouse, from Charlbury Lane, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, was fined £176 for the primary offence in Winslade and ordered to pay the farmer £492.65 compensation. He was additionally instructed to pay £85 court docket prices.

For the second offence in Tadley, Mr Stonehouse was fined £176 and ordered to pay Mr Wyeth £950 in compensation. He was additionally instructed to pay an extra £85 court docket prices and a £35 sufferer surcharge.

‘Warning to others’

PC Andy Reid, space beat commander for Basingstoke Rural South, who investigated each incidents, mentioned the case ought to function a warning to canine walkers about the necessity to at all times hold pets on a lead within the countryside.

“This is a superb outcome for these sheep farmers and I hope that will probably be a warning to others who frequent our countryside and fail to take care of correct management of their canine, particularly within the space of livestock,” he mentioned.

Farmers Weekly contacted Mr Stonehouse, however he declined to remark.

Farmer victims give their verdict on the sentencing

Sheep farmer Gordon Wyeth mentioned he felt the sentencing on this case was too lenient and the victims had paid a much bigger penalty than the defendant.

“He [Peter Stonehouse] can simply stick with it operating his ‘skilled’ canine strolling service,” mentioned Mr Wyeth.

“He’ll possible declare the cash again on his insurance coverage, so all it will value him is £170 court docket prices. There’ll in all probability be a little bit of a dent in his repute too.”

Mr Wyeth mentioned the very least he would have anticipated was a letter of apology from Mr Stonehouse, however this had not been forthcoming.

He requested: “What has occurred to frequent decency, for God’s sake?”

Coping with the aftermath of sheep worrying assaults was a “ache within the bottom”, he mentioned.

Because the incident in January, he has suffered an extra 5 sheep worrying assaults throughout his farms.

He mentioned: “The onus is on the farmer to attempt to get your a refund. You’re combating with the insurance coverage corporations. Issues have to alter.”

Tenant farmer Tim Cooke mentioned the canine assault on his flock in Winslade triggered each him and the vet big inconvenience.

The vet needed to make a one-hour automobile journey to the farm on Christmas Eve to deal with the injured ewe lamb.

Mr Cooke mentioned the injured lamb needed to be handled for every week for its open wounds, which have been contaminated and couldn’t be stitched. It then needed to be stored indoors for a month to recuperate.

“It annoys me that folks don’t perceive that that is individuals’s livelihoods. They don’t appear to care,” he mentioned.

“I’ve had so many arguments with individuals about having canine on leads. They’ve solely acquired to maintain a canine on a lead, particularly close to livestock. It actually isn’t an excessive amount of to ask.”

Mr Cooke mentioned he was involved that the Dobermann would possibly commit additional assaults. “There was no order made to destroy the canine. However as soon as a canine has a style of sheep worrying, it’s prone to do it once more.”

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