A horse has been badly injured and 15 sheep killed in dog attacks in a small area of Lancashire since January.
Equestrians in the Rivington area are now desperately trying to raise awareness of the possibly fatal consequences of not keeping dogs on leads around animals.
Sharon Hubbard told H&H a farmer has already shot one dog – having first done his best to stop it attacking his sheep – but the incidents have continued.
Her friend’s horse 27-year-old Jack* was found lying on top of the collapsed fence to his field four weeks ago.
“We got a phone call to say he was lying half in, half out of the field and we thought he must have had a heart attack so we went hurtling up there,” Sharon said.
“He’d crashed through it – we don’t know whether he ran through the fence to get away, or slipped into it, but the farmer later said he’d seen a dog chasing the horses.
“We got him up and he’d been lying on his leg, which is probably a good thing as he’d cut an artery – it wasn’t nice.”
The vet was called and Jack was stitched and has since been on box rest.
“The vet says he will be ok but it’s going to be a long road,” said Sharon. “When we first saw him, it was touch and go because it was so deep, and the poor thing’s going stir crazy as he’s an outside horse.”
The pony’s owner wants others to be aware of the illegal hunting of deer with dogs
Tracey’s 17-year-old niece, Milly, fell off during the incident
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
Sharon said there are footpaths going through the sheep farmer’s fields, which adjoin the horses’ land, and that she had her friends have also had trouble with loose dogs running up to the horses on bridleways.
“It’s common sense: if you’re near horses or livestock, keep your dog on a lead,” she said. “People might say ‘oh, the dog only wants to play’ when it runs up but horses and sheep don’t know that; they’re herd animals so they run.
“No one can say 100% that a dog won’t attack either as you can never trust an animal completely.
“I don’t know whether we just hear about this more but there seem to be so many attacks at the moment. I wish people would just think.”
*Not his real name
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.