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Two XL bully dogs shot dead after killing 22 pregnant sheep – as owner fined | UK News

Two XL bully dogs were shot dead after killing 22 pregnant sheep and injuring dozens of others in a livestock attack in North Wales.

The dogs were killed by the owner of the farm, near Wrexham, after they escaped from their home and began attacking the livestock.

The farmer was unable to get the dogs under control – despite several attempts – and opened fire after one became aggressive towards him.

Police say the financial cost of the incident, which took place in March, amounted to more than £14,000 for the farmer.

The owner of the two dogs has since been ordered to pay £900 in fines after admitting to an offence of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control.

David Hughes, 26, from Rhosllanerchrugog, North Wales, also admitted to an offence of being the owner of a dog worrying livestock.

Hughes appeared at Wrexham Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, where he was banned from keeping dogs for five years.

PC Chris James said: “I welcome this result after what was a horrific scene for the victim, who is still suffering the effects of the incident today.

“The emotional and financial impact on the farmer has been considerable.

“Livestock attacks are extremely distressing not only for the animals, but for their keepers too. The costs, both financially and emotionally, for such distressing incidents are wholly unacceptable.

“A dog’s owner is the only person who can prevent an attack from happening, and you may have to pay the ultimate price if you cannot control your animal.”

There were nearly 22,000 cases of out-of-control dogs causing injury reported last year – up from 16,000 in 2018.

Over the same period, dog ownership has increased 15 percent – from 8.9 million to 10.2 million – according to veterinary charity PDSA.

Earlier this year, the Royal Mail said it had recorded a total of 1,916 dog attacks on staff in the year up to 31 March 2023 – averaging 37 a week and increasing 14% on the 1,673 incidents in the previous year.

Read more:
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Meanwhile, a Sky News investigation in 2021 found that more than 1,500 dogs had been destroyed after being detained under the Dangerous Dogs Act in the UK since 2019.

Four breeds are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act; the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro, but other types can be seized if they are dangerously out of control.

The XL bully, also known as the American bully, is not on that list – though there have been calls for it to be included following a string of fatal attacks.

In 2021, 10-year-old Jack Lis was mauled to death in Caerphilly, South Wales, by a dog identified as an American bully or XL bully.

Undated family handout file photo issued by South Wales Police of Jack Lis. Brandon Hayden and Amy Salter have been jailed at Cardiff Crown Court after admitting being in charge of a dog that mauled the 10-year-old boy to death. Jack was attacked by the American bully or XL bully dog called Beast while playing with a friend at a house after school in Pentwyn, Penyrheol, near Caerphilly, on November 8 2021. Issue date: Friday June 10, 2022.
Jack Lis, who was killed by an XL Bully dog, in Caerphilly, South Wales, in 2021

Earlier this year, four-year-old Alice Stones was killed by her family dog in what Thames Valley Police described as a “tragic incident” in Milton Keynes.

The dog was put down humanely after the attack “to ensure public safety”. Police have not identified the breed of the dog, however they said it was not one banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In May, Jonathan Hogg, 37, died after being attacked while looking after his friend’s dog, reported to be an XL Bully, in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

‘Harrowing’ dog attacks on sheep costing farmers millions of pounds a year | UK News

Farmer Oliver East is losing sheep to deadly dog attacks every week.

This winter alone, more than 20 of his sheep have been killed – the last attack only days ago.

Mr East, from Buckinghamshire, told Sky News he discovered one of his ewes dead near a footpath.

“It’s back legs were severely mauled, it had its ears pulled off, and its throat was pulled out,” he said.

“It’s becoming a weekly occurrence, if not twice a week now.”

Not only do these incidents carry an emotional impact, but they also have significant financial implications.

Increasing numbers of deadly dog attacks on livestock are forcing farmers to “change the way they live and farm”, leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has warned, costing the industry millions of pounds a year.

Mr East estimates that with each sheep that is killed, he loses £500.

“If it carries on the way it is going, I am already looking at potentially downsizing my ewe flock, which is already a financial loss to me,” he said.

“I just can’t mentally and physically go through losing this many ewes. It’s mentally debilitating.”

Sheep at a farm in Buckinghamshire
Dog attacks on sheep cost British farmers millions a year

‘Harrowing’ incidents cost industry millions

Even attacks that don’t lead to death can be distressing.

The stress of being chased by dogs can cause death, and can result in pregnant ewes aborting their lambs.

Dog attacks on livestock cost the industry more than a million pounds every year.

Last year, the cost of dog attacks on livestock cost £1.8m, up from £1.3m in 2020, according to NFU Mutual data.

Rebecca Davidson, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, told Sky News: “Sadly, we hear harrowing accounts of these types of cases every other day.

“Behind those figures, there’s obviously tremendous concern over for farmers and their livelihoods, also the emotional impact for them.

“Many of them are being forced to change the way they live and farm.”

Read more:
What’s behind rise in deadly dog attacks

Sheep at a farm in Buckinghamshire

‘A lot of irresponsible dog owners’

It’s hoped that changes in legislation will be pivotal in helping improve the situation.

In June 2021, the government announced new measures in its Kept Animals Bill to provide police more powers in protecting livestock from dangerous dogs.

If the legislation is passed, police will be able to seize dogs and have more power to enter premises to find culprits.

Rob Taylor, from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, told Sky News: “There’s a lot of livestock out there, a lot of sheep out there, a lot of dogs out there as well, but there are also a lot of irresponsible dog owners.

“Once we can strengthen that law, I think things will fall in place much better.”

A Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “We take the issue of livestock worrying very seriously and recognise the distress this can cause farmers and animals, as well as the financial implications – and the launch of our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will help address this.

“In response to recent reports on the issue, new measures to crack down on livestock worrying in England and Wales will be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill.”

Almost 30 pregnant sheep killed in one of ‘worst livestock attacks’ in Kent | UK News

More than two dozen pregnant sheep have died after “possibly the worst livestock attack we have ever had”, police in Kent say.

The 27 ewes, some of which were pregnant with twins or triplets, were attacked between Christmas Eve and 1pm on Boxing Day.

A Kent Police spokesman said they believe the attack was carried out by one dog but “cannot rule out” that more dogs may have been involved.

PC Marc Pennicott of the Kent Police rural task force said: “This is a distressing incident which is possibly the worst livestock attack we have ever had.

“The farmer has not only suffered a financial loss due to this incident but animals have needlessly lost their lives.

“These dogs would have been covered in mud and returned home exhausted and we are committed to identifying their owners.

“The remaining livestock have also been left vulnerable to a further attack, so it is extremely important that we find who is responsible for these dogs as quickly as possible.”

The attack happened in a field in Teynham, near Sittingbourne and barking was heard in the area between 4pm and 5pm on Christmas Day, police say.