Warning: This report has a graphic photo some readers may find distressing 

A PROFESSIONAL dog walker has been fined after a Dobermann in his care attacked a flock of sheep - causing six lambs to die. 

Peter Stonehouse, 58, who runs WoofNBoots Dog Walking and Pet Services, was sentenced at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (May 6) after pleading guilty to the two offences of sheep worrying under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock Act) 1953.

In total, Mr Stonehouse was ordered to pay £1,999.65, including fines, court costs and victim compensation.

Mr Stonehouse, based in Basingstoke, actively promotes his business by offering 'countryside walks off the lead'. He has been ordered to pay compensation to two farmers after a Dobermann under his supervision attacked sheep in two separate incidents.

Now farmer Louise Cooke, whose three sheep were mauled by the hound, is pleading to dog walkers to put their dogs on leads after her three sheep suffered horrific injuries in Winslade last December.

Recalling the horrific incident, Ms Cooke told The Gazette: “He was walking a group of dogs in Winslade on December 23.

“He lost control of a dog (Doberman) who managed to jump into a field of our sheep whilst allegedly chasing a deer.  Once the dog was in with our sheep it started chasing them instead.

“Fortunately, one of our farm team was in the area at the time and was alerted by a local resident that the incident was taking place. She was able to get the contact details of the dog walker from a tag on the dog's collar, but he then quickly left the scene showing little regard for the sheep.

One sustained serious bite-wounds to a front leg which required veterinary attention and took around four weeks to heal. Two others had been bitten and were missing wool.”

Basingstoke Gazette: One sheep suffered injuries to its front legOne sheep suffered injuries to its front leg

The farmers immediately reported the incident to Hampshire Police.

While police were investigating this incident, they received reports of a second dog attack on sheep in Tadley on January 25.

Mr Stonehouse was walking the same Dobermann dog at Ewhurst Park.

While off its lead, the Dobermann scented sheep in a field. The loose dog chased a flock of New Zealand Romney lambs until it was caught, totally exhausted.

Six lambs died in that attack, three as a result of their injuries from bite puncture wounds. The other three died from shock and stress from the trauma of being chased.

Ms Cooke said the threat of dog attacks is on the rise across the country, which was made worse by the pandemic and an increase in dog ownership.

She, as part of the National Shepherds Association (NSA), is desperately trying to raise awareness and asking dog walkers to kindly put their dogs on leads where livestock are present.

“Dogs do not necessarily need to bite sheep to cause damage - just simply being chased can cause pregnant sheep to abort their unborn lambs or they can die later from stress/shock.

“The incident here on our farm has cost us greatly in both time and money to deal with. It has also caused us a great deal of emotional stress and we are constantly worried about when we will suffer another attack.”

The NSA is currently running a two-week campaign – #LeadOn – to raise awareness of the problem. According to the group’s figures, on average there are seven incidents per farmer per year, with five sheep injured and two killed per attack costing £1,570.