A WEST Dorset farmer is reigniting a call to make it mandatory for dogs to be on leads around livestock after another savage attack killed four of his pregnant sheep.

Cameron Farquharson, who owns animals on Eggardon Hill, a National Trust beauty spot near Bridport, says he has been verbally abused and 'spat at' by dog walkers when he asks them politely to ensure their pets are on a lead.

The farmer has long campaigned for a change in law to make it compulsory to keep dogs restrained when walking near livestock.

In May 2021, Mr Farquharson's highland cow Gladis was killed by an off-lead dog, which encouraged him to push for new laws and tougher punishments by launching the Gladis's Law campaign.

However the Dorset farmer is still seeing his livestock brutally killed and wants the bill to pick up more pace in Parliament to avoid more distress to himself and his business.

The latest incident occurred on Sunday, February 5 when Mr Farquharson was feeding his flock, before discovering that three pregnant ewes and one lamb had been mauled by a dog.

"It is sad because take away the financial side of it, that is an animal that I have reared - I have known its mother and its grandmother," he said.

"I have known that animal and it makes you sad. What a waste of a life.

"It is so frustrating - we have got massive signs on the hill asking people to keep dogs on leads. I don't think we are asking a lot. How hard is it?"

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Cameron Farquharson's highland cow Gladis was killed in May 2021Cameron Farquharson's highland cow Gladis was killed in May 2021 (Image: Cameron Farquharson)

Mr Farquharson added: "We have had people who have let dogs off the lead and have got quite rude and abusive - saying they are working dogs or 'my dog won't do that'.

"It is mainly the older generation - 65 plus - who feel they have the right to roam anywhere. 

"If you have got a fluffy cat in your garden and my dog kills it, you're going to be cross. Eggardon Hill is just an extension to my back garden."

The farmer said he has so far had no further information about the attack but he was planning on reporting it to the police.

He added he has also received support from his local MP, Chris Loder, on the issue, but wants the bill to be taken off the 'back burner' in Parliament.

"Everything seems to have been forgotten about with everything else that is going on in Government," said Mr Farquharson.

"We are asking if we can get this bill sorted. It just seems to be sitting there. Hopefully it will bubble up again.

"I can't afford the losses. It is my business. It is a problem up and down the county and the country."

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Cameron Farquharson is reigniting calls for tougher laws on dogs being kept on leads around livestockCameron Farquharson is reigniting calls for tougher laws on dogs being kept on leads around livestock (Image: Cameron Farquharson)

A Government spokesman said it takes the issue 'very seriously' and has launched an action plan for animal welfare to address this.

It added that measures to crack down on livestock worrying will be brought in through the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which is currently before Parliament and will 'continue its passage as soon as parliamentary time allows'. 

Mr Loder added in a statement: "I know exactly the sort of traumas that dog attacks can cause on livestock.

"This suffering to animals must stop and I want the law to now deal with that as I have called for on a number of occasions in the House of Commons.

"I am proud to have brought in new laws to increase maximum sentences for animal welfare offences and I continue to support the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill."

A National Trust spokesperson said it was 'saddened' to hear of another incident at Eggardon Hill 

"We ask all of our visitors to follow the Countryside Code and to keep their dogs on leads around livestock," they added.

"We have launched a Canine Code of Conduct to promote responsible dog ownership and want to work with our tenant farmers to promote it."