Police warning after farmland attacks on sheep
Police are appealing for information after two recent reports of sheep being found dead and injured on farmland in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
The first report related to the bodies of two large adult sheep discovered close to a footpath through fields near Whitefield Woods. It's believed they were killed by another animal sometime between 8pm on Wednesday, 5 January and 8.40am on Thursday, 6 January 2011.
A second report was received after at least four sheep were injured during an apparent attack by another animal in the same area sometime between 8pm on Tuesday, 25 January and 8am on Wednesday, 26 January 2011.
Country Watch police officer PC Nick Massey of the Rural East Safer Neighbourhoods team said: "Two similar reports in the same place in one month mean we're treating these reports as potential wildlife crimes. I'm appealing to anyone who has used the footpaths in and around Whitefield Woods during the past month to contact police if they remember noticing suspicious behaviour.
"The sheep's injuries suggest they were attacked by another animal, possibly a large dog. Although there is no evidence at the moment to confirm a dog owner was nearby when these attacks happened, I would still like to take this opportunity to remind people with dogs about their responsibilities under the law.
"Dog owners should keep their pets under control all the time, particularly on a close lead when walking anywhere near livestock. Even the most loving family pet can become a menace when away from its owner's control and encountering sheep. Owners can face prosecution and heavy costs if their dogs are caught worrying livestock."
Officers have issued an alert to farmers and landowners through the Isle of Wight Country Watch rural policing database. This project is the rural equivalent of Neighbourhood Watch. Its purpose is to reinforce links with rural and remote communities on the island to encourage a greater exchange of information that can stop and solve crimes swiftly.
For more information, go to http://www.hampshire.police.uk/Internet/rural/Isle+of+Wight+OCU.htm
Information can be shared with the police through a dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with information can also contact police by phoning 101.
From outside Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, call police on 0845 045 45 45.
Mini-Com users can call the police on 01962 875000.
Information can be given anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
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