Dogs escape death sentence

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Two dogs which killed and savaged sheep at a Pilling farm have escaped being destroyed.

The Rottweilers ripped open the throats of ewes with lambs during the attack at Skronkey Farm, which was described by a vet as “the worst case of sheep worrying I have seen.”

Four sheep at farmer Ben Carter’s farm were so badly injured they had to be put down and their lambs given to a neighbouring farmer’s flock to nurse, while others were seriously wounded.

It was revealed the two dogs responsible cannot be put to death because the section of the law under which their owner was prosecuted does not give the courts that option.

Carole Holden, 52, of Moorland View, Bradshaw Lane, Pilling, previously pleaded guilty to being the owner of a dog which worried livestock.

She said she had parted with one dog and spent £600 on a special fence and collar to keep the other dog confined to her garden.

At that hearing the case was adjourned for a judge to consider whether the dogs should be put down.

Brett Chappell, defending, told a court the section of the law under which his client had been prosecuted did not allow for the dogs to be destroyed.

He asked for Holden’s previous plea of guilty to be withdrawn.

Mr Chappell said he now intended to consult the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether his client could be given a conditional caution instead of being prosecuted.

This would entail Holden paying the farmer compensation for the loss of his sheep.

District Judge, Roger Lowe, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court, agreed to set aside Holden’s guilty plea and added: “The prosecution has now discovered the legislation under which this case was brought is not one which empowers the court to order the destruction of the dogs.”

The judge adjourned the case to July 30 for a conditional caution to be considered for Holden, who was not present at the hearing.