Warning, distressing pictures below
A family says they have been left devastated after a farmer shot two of their dogs in a field near Birmingham.
The huskies were running free with no leads when they were hit.
One of the dogs was killed instantly, whilst the other was left badly injured.
The owners have been left with a £3,000 vet’s bill and now the O’Keeffe family have launched a fund-raising campaign to help cover the cost.
Police have said the farmer did nothing wrong and was perfectly entitled to shoot dogs, and warned it is coming up to lambing season.
The shooting happened in a field near Angela O’Keeffe’s home in Shenstone Road, Hollywood, on January 4.
Both dogs were three-year-old huskies and had lived with the family since puppies.
The one which was killed was called Marley, while the surviving one was Hugo.
Hugo’s owner is Angela O’Keeffe, aged 56, while Marley belongs to her daughter and was staying with her while they moved house.
Angela, who works at a nursing home, said she had returned home about 10.30pm and opened the front door and both dogs rushed outside into the street.
She said:“It was dark and I couldn’t see them immediately, so got into the car and went looking for them.
“As I was driving, I heard two shots, so stopped straight away, got out the car and shouted out ‘don’t shoot please don’t shoot!’.
“That’s when I saw Hugo on the road, crawling towards me, bleeding.”
She said a resident then came out and told her he’d seen a second dog in a field and she went in and found Marley dead.
Her son, Shaun O’Keeffe, said there were just three sheep in the field and an examination by police afterwards had found there was not a mark on them.
“We’ve now been told by the police that they won’t be prosecuting the farmer because he was quite within his rights to shoot the dogs because he believed they were a threat to his sheep,” he said.
“But I’ve done some research and have found out that the farmer has to fire a warning shot before he shoots, and this farmer didn’t.”
He said his mother and sister were “completely devastated” by what had happened as they were both much-loved family pets.
“We’re disgusted that in this day and age, a farmer can kill a family pet and get away with it.”
West Mercia Police confirmed officers had been called out to a shooting incident at a farm in Hollywood.
A spokesman said the incident is believed to be linked to other reports by members of the public of loose dogs on the A435 Hollywood bypass
PC Simon Albutt, from Alvechurch and Wythall Safer Neighbourhood Team, who is also a wildlife crime officer (WCO), said the farmer was quite within his rights to shoot dogs which was worrying sheep.
“I’d like to reinforce the message that we are coming into lambing season and dogs must be on a lead around livestock,” he said.
“If you live by a farm please make sure your garden and property is properly secured so no dogs and animals can escape onto farmland.
“Section 9 of the Animals Act 1971 provides that the owner of livestock, the landowner or anyone acting on their behalf, is entitled to shoot any dog if they believe it is the only reasonable way of stopping it worrying livestock.
“Such action must be reported to police within 48 hours.
“By ‘worrying’ it means attacking livestock or chasing livestock expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or still born of the lamb.”