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Signs go up on Braunton Burrows urging dog owners to control their pets after cattle are found dead

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

By Andrea Foster

  • RED RUBIES: Dave Robbins who keeps a herd of cattle on 500 hectares of Braunton Burrows. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20130129A-006_C

  • HERD: Dave Robbins' herd of Devon Red Ruby cattle on Braunton Burrows Picture: Mike Southon.

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SIGNS have gone up on gates at Braunton Burrows urging dog owners to keep their pets on a lead or under control after three cows were found dead and another mauled.

All indications point to dogs being responsible.

The Red Ruby Devons, one of the most calm and gentle of breeds, belonged to Dave Robbins, of East Saunton Farm, Braunton.

He pleaded with members of the public to keep their dogs under control.

The attacks, which left three of his cows dead and another with wounds to its nose, happened in December and earlier this month.

Two of the dead animals were six-month-old calves.

Mr Robbins said: "They had been singled out one at a time and driven until they collapsed."

The loss of his livestock has left him £2,400 out of pocket because he is unable to prove what happened or identify the owners of the dogs.

Christie Estates, which owns and manages Braunton Burrows, has now erected notices telling dog owners about the law.

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 dog owners or anyone else who has control of the animal at the time is guilty of an offence if it worries livestock on agricultural land.

Worrying is described as attacking livestock or chasing livestock in such a way as to cause injury or suffering.

It can also relate to a dog being at large and not on a lead or under close control.

Also, under the Animals Act 1971, farmers are permitted to shoot dogs that are worrying or about to worry farm animals, in order to protect them.

Mr Robbins, 67, warned: "If I saw a dog attacking my cattle and if I had my gun, I would shoot it; I would not think twice."

Mr Robbins said: "We get trouble with dogs all the time but not as bad as this."

The latest attack, which was seen by witnesses, resulted in a dog biting one of his cows on the face.

Mr Robbins said: "When I got there the cow was bleeding on the nose and on the side of the face. All the cows were wound right up. They were in a right old state."

There are currently calves being born within the herd, which numbers 120.

Grazing by cows forms an important part of conserving the burrows.

Rupert Hawley, Braunton Burrows Education Officer, said: "The biodiversity of the burrows is threatened by the invasion of scrub and trees which smother the flower rich dune grassland.

"Grazing is needed to maintain this low dune turf, if we want to keep the diversity of species of plants, insects and birds."

He said there were three newly fenced off areas on the burrows so that the cows could be controlled more easily.

By the end of February there will be signs up telling walkers in which of the three zones the cattle are grazing.

Christie Estates is urging people to report any sightings of dogs worrying livestock to the police or the burrows education officer.

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  • carolinejake  |  January 31 2013, 2:42PM

    This is YET ANOTHER example of the dog Mafia who have taken over North Devon. And you try challenging some of them. Ruining it for all the nice, responsible dog owners by flouting the law daily.

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