IRRESPONSIBLE owners are to blame for farmers shooting dogs, said a councillor at a Denbighshire council meeting this week where a motion was passed to keep sheep safer.
Cllr Huw Williams, a farmer, proposed that Denbighshire bring in legislation ensuring all dogs are kept on leads on council-owned grazing land, apart from sheepdogs.
The motion was backed and changes can now be implemented by officers.
Cllr Gwyneth Ellis said she didn’t want to delay the matter but said the council should consider extending legislation to cover all council-owned land.
The motion being backed follows an owner appearing in court this week after a farmer shot dead two escaped dogs who savaged a flock of pregnant sheep near Wrexham.
In introducing the motion, Cllr Huw Williams said Denbighshire needed to set an example.
Cllr Hugh Irving said: “I absolutely support this as a member of the hill-walking community. I spent a lot of time in the Clwydians, and as recently as last Sunday, I saw an example of exactly what councillors are referring to, on the Llyn Peninsula, near Aberdaron.
“It is appalling irresponsibility on behalf of dog owners, and the sooner we get some signs up on our own area of outstanding natural beauty that dogs must be kept on the lead. It can’t come quickly enough.”
Cllr Merfyn Parry added: “I work in the agricultural trade. But I also walk the Clwydian Range quite often, and if I’m up there walking and I see dogs off leads where there are sheep about, I will tell the people (ask) ‘can you just put your dog on the lead please?’.
“It is surprising how aggressive some people can be personally towards you for asking them to do that. So you put yourself at a risk really. I’m 65 years old this year, so I’m too old to run, so I have to stand and fight them now,” he joked.
“It is a situation you don’t really want to put yourself in.”
He added: “There are plenty of signs about, and I’m not sure how it is taken further, but it is a problem. I get the Daily Post online, and three or four times a week, you’ll see that somebody’s chickens have had it. There were two dogs shot this week somewhere because they’d attacked 14 sheep. That’s an issue, you see, because if the dog attacks your sheep on your own land, you have the right to go and shoot it. But if you are a mountain grazer, you haven’t got the right to shoot the dog attacking your sheep on common land, not that they want to shoot the dog. It’s not the dog’s fault. We all know that. It is the people who own the dog that should have the responsibility. The dog is just the victim.”
He concluded: “But unfortunately when you’re losing sheep, and I have seen Huw (Cllr Williams), and he is stressed on a good day, never mind when a dog has killed his sheep. But it happens to a lot of farmers, and I think we should support it and take it further.”