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My dog has just done the worst thing

(712 Posts)
93sdb Tue 09-Feb-21 15:53:00

Hes just chased a sheep into a pond in the snow. Im heartbroken.

When he was younger he chased sheep before and he has ALWAYS been on a lead since then. Sheep or not.

We were walking down a field a walk through daily that has never had sheep in in the 20 years I've lived here. He was on his extendable lead and it was on loose but he was right next to me. I opened the gate to go through and felt him pull on the lead. Saw the sheep and put the clip on so he couldn't get any closer and the lead snapped. He chased the sheep and would not come back. One jumped into a pond and I finally got him back.

Another girl from the house nearby helped me get the sheep out but it went into shock but was still breathing. I put my coat around it and sat with her whilst she called the farmer and another lad came over and said the farmer was going to be furious as this had happened earlier this morning. I gave them my number said I would pay any vet bills etc and left it with my coat wrapped around it.

The farmer has just called and spoken to my dad as I was too upset. He's shouted at my dad (understandably) and is threatening to get the police involved and wants immediate compensation and threatened to come and shoot my dog. The sheep is alive and is warming back up in this man's house and is expected to make a full recovery and I am going to walk up there later (WITHOUT THE DOG) to check on it.

I just wanted somewhere to write and be devestated. Im upset how the farmer spoke to my dad as it was a complete and utter accident but I understand his frustration. I wouldn't of even walked in the field with my dog if I had any clue there was going to be sheep in there. He hasn't got excited around them since the first time but I would never risk it.

OP’s posts: |
TokyoSushi Tue 09-Feb-21 15:55:04

Oh OP, this sounds absolutely awful and I can understand the upset all round. It sounds like you did the best you could in a terrible situation.

dublingirl66 Tue 09-Feb-21 15:56:40

Sending you lots of love

Sorry these things happen

You did very well considering

Lesson learned
Keep dog on lead

Poor sheep and poor you
I bet that's the last thing you needed 😢😢😢

picklemewalnuts Tue 09-Feb-21 15:58:35

Make sure you say the dog's lead snapped.

You were walking your dog, on his lead, in an area where there haven't previously been sheep. The lead snapped.

It's awful, yes, but it was an accident, you had prepared as well as possible.

User237tyre Tue 09-Feb-21 16:03:37

Poor you.
I’m not sure what else you could have done really. Hopefully when the farmer has calmed down he will be able to listen to you and you have offered to pay vets bills (your insurance might cover this).
I know they have the right to shoot dogs who are in the process of sheep bothering but I’m pretty sure he can’t do it after the event so it might be worth agreeing to get the police involved as I’m sure they’ll see both sides of the story .

bitheby Tue 09-Feb-21 16:03:41

Well if it happened twice in one day, arguably the farmer should learn from this that putting sheep in a field that had never had sheep in it before requires signage up to warn unsuspecting dog owners.

You did everything you could. He is understandably upset but the sheep didn't die; you didn't leave it to die and you could've done. Hopefully he'll learn from this too.

Lesina Tue 09-Feb-21 16:04:10

That is really tough and very very upsetting for you. You did the right thing by getting the sheep to safety and for staying with him.

You may want to leave it a day or so before you visit the farm. Feelings are running high & I can understand the farmers anger - so many sheep are mauled by dogs every year and many ewes and lambs are lost when dogs worry sheep; but it would be illegal for him to shoot the dog. You can be held liable for any damages as the dog owner.
Unfortunately your pooch has shown himself to be unpredictable around sheep.. Just don't walk him anywhere (at all) there is live stock.

Fuhfeuucdr Tue 09-Feb-21 16:04:56

Obviously the farmer has every right to be angry, but it was a horrible accident. The lead snapped, you were not being deliberately irresponsible.

It sounds like you did everything you could to help the sheep and it has survived, so what compensation is he expecting (unless it miscarried)? Also a farmer cannot lawfully shoot a dog if it is not threatening his livestock, which yours is not if it is at home.

flowers It must have been so frightening.

Bopahula Tue 09-Feb-21 16:06:52

I think once he's calmed down and you've explained that the lead snapped so it was a complete accident, he will hopefully be more reasonable.

I'd be upset in your position too. You did a lot more than most would. Sometimes it's just the shock making someone shout.

justanotherneighinparadise Tue 09-Feb-21 16:07:22

Take the lead with you to show him.

ArcherDog Tue 09-Feb-21 16:08:46

The police won’t care. It doesn’t fall into the Livestock Act category.

So sorry this has happened, its one of my worst fears that my lead should snap and my dog will chase sheep.
The sheep didn’t die. It will be fine.
Just don’t walk there again for a while.

Asdf12345 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:11:55

If you know your dog worries livestock it simply can never be off the lead outside a secure area. It doesn’t take much stress for them to miscarry at all, and only a few from the flock to wipe out the years profit.

I would take the farmer a bottle of whisky, a grovelling apology, and the insurance details of the dogs third party liability cover.

Batinhernightdress Tue 09-Feb-21 16:12:12

Problem is people always say the lead snapped so he won't believes that. Ewe is probably pregnant and high chance she will abort because of the stress.

Asdf12345 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:12:33

And buy a proper lead.

GooodMythicalMorning Tue 09-Feb-21 16:13:49

Poor you, it was an accident though. If you'd walked the dog off lead and this happened then I'd say you'd done the wrong thing but this was totally unpreventable. You also tried your best to remedy it. yes it's horrible but don't beat yourself up too much.

Moonstone1234 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:15:06

The lead broke Asdf..... dogs third party liability? What is that? Part of home insurance (should the OP have this?)

Asdf12345 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:15:44

Given it’s right before lambing season and the dog chased the sheep (flock is inferred from the post), and then got one into the pond, there is every chance the rest of the flock will abort. It has the potential to represent a few thousand pounds of loss easily so leave it to the insurance company.

buzzandwoodyallday Tue 09-Feb-21 16:17:12

Maybe stop walking in his fields? Even if there are rambling rights over them, I don't imagine that the farmer is very happy about it and I'm sure he'd prefer it if people would just stay off his land altogether.

Moonstone1234 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:17:28

Asdf - has something wrong ever happened to you? You sound very smug. Car accident, tripped up, put your mobile in the washing machine in error. Left the oven on overnight, left the front door unlocked or locked yourself out of the house.

How was the OP to know that the lead would snap?

NeverTrustaRabbit Tue 09-Feb-21 16:19:18

@ArcherDog the actions do fall under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953

The dog was at large in a field of sheep which falls under the definition of worrying, regardless of any injury or death to the sheep.

Best thing you can do OP is to contact your dogs insurer, in case the farmer does want to claim compensation (eg, the sheep dies or miscarries) regardless of whether the police bring criminal charges.

Please stop using an extendable/retractable lead. The idea of walking a dog on a lead is to ensure it is under control. Unfortunately retractable leads usually have the opposite effect. I wish they'd be banned!

It's sad this has happened, but my sympathy is firmly with the farmer. Hopefully you will be able to reach a mutually agreeable outcome though.

Asdf12345 Tue 09-Feb-21 16:19:30


In the uk the owner is liable for damage caused by dogs, though interestingly not cats. Either you insure this risk, we use the dogs trust for about £10 a year, or bear it yourself. Most vet fees policies also include third party liability, I’m not sure about home insurance.

The fact that the lead snapped is moot, just like if her car brakes failed and she flattened some sheep she would still be liable.

LeaveMyDamnJam Tue 09-Feb-21 16:23:25

Extendable leads are not fit for purpose. I have heard of so many issues with them and think they should be banned.

You behaved well after the fact OP and I hope the sheep is ok.

Saucery Tue 09-Feb-21 16:24:30

Tbh, if the farmer was that angry he was prepared to shout at your Dad on the phone I wouldn’t risk walking up to the farm to speak to him on your own.
Understandable he is angry and upset, but your personal safety has to come first.
He knows how to contact you for compensation if he needs to.
And swap to a decent lead, leather or strong fibre (Halti leads are good and they do long lines as well as 2m training leads) so your dog can’t escape again.

TheChip Tue 09-Feb-21 16:24:49

Retractable leads are more dangerous than anything.

Awful situation for you and the farmer. I hope you're okay and I hope the sheep are too. Please buy a proper lead!

NiceTwin Tue 09-Feb-21 16:25:37

Long leads are notorious for snapping, if not the actual lead but the ring off the collar due to the force exerted when the dog reaches the end of the extend.
Slip lead may be preferable as you will have more control.

The farmer is right to be fucked off. They work hard to nurture their sheep, whose main aim in life seems to die, especially if it is in lamb. It's a lot of money to lose sad

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