Jersey farmer calls for action after sheep killed by dogs

A farmer in Jersey is calling on dog owners to be more responsible after his sheep have been attacked and killed.

John Le Masurier has lost many of his flock to dog attacks but nothing has been done to prevent further casualties.

Earlier this month, Mr Le Masurier received a message that one of his sheep had been found dead at the hands of dogs on his St Ouen farm.

"It's not very nice at all, sadly it is one of those things that does occasionally happen, the island seems to be swamped with dogs at the moment and although most people do look after their dogs, there are so who do not."

Mr Le Masurier has been farming sheep for more than 15 years, but says when dogs are not controlled by their owners, it causes significant problems for local farmers.

"Usually one dog is said to be man's best friend, but if you have got more than one, you have then got the commencement of a pack."

Signs have been put up across Les Landes by The National Trust, telling dog owners to keep their pets on leads when walking in the area, but Mr Le Masseur says this is often ignored.

"I frequently see people up here, who take their dogs off their lead because they think that's fine, it's fenced and they can see the dog. But I have seen the situations where the dog is one hundred yards away from the owner and chasing the sheep.

"If you are a dog owner, you have got to have your dog on the end of a lead when you are taking it for a walk."

Islana Mclaughlin-Bell is a dog-trainer in Jersey and does not believe dogs should always be walked on leads, however, she does support designated leash-only zones.

"I think to be fair to dogs and dog owners, I personally don't believe that dogs she be kept on lead all the time. However, I do firmly believe that dogs should be under our control and vigilant all the time.

"So if that means that sometimes we have to have our dogs on the lead because they are going through certain areas where there is lots of exciting stimulus around them that might distract them, then I don't see that as being a big issue for people."

The government have also closed several footpaths at Les Landes in order to prevent disruption and protect the island's crapaud population who will soon enter their breeding period.

One piece of advice Mr Le Masurier has shared with islanders is if all owners take the small step to keep their dogs on leads, it would go a long way to keep farmers, like him, from worrying about their animals and local wildlife.