Newbridge farmer John Steel calls for responsible pet ownership following 'frenzied' dog attack

PEOPLE need to be responsible for their pets, a Newbridge farmer said following a ‘frenzied’ dog attack that killed 20 of his sheep.

A horrific sight awaited John Steel at his share farming property on Sunday morning. 

The mutilated bodies of breeding ewes and lambs were strewn across a paddock. 

Worse still were those that had survived the attack, but sustained severe injuries.

Most of the injured sheep have since had to be put down.

Though he believed he’s lost about a dozen sheep to dogs over the past few months, Mr Steel said it was the first time there’d been a “frenzied attack” at his property.

“The problem is, it’s not going to stop,” he said. 

His property is near the border of two municipalities – Greater Bendigo and Loddon Shire.

“The rangers are interested but perhaps a little bit hamstrung,” Mr Steel said. 

His leading farmhand had been out “spotlighting” numerous times to try to catch the dogs in the paddock at night, but to no avail.

“I’ll shoot them the moment I see them on the property,” Mr Steel said. 

He wanted people to be aware of what had been happening, and to ensure their pets are safe and secure on their properties.  

“It’s just unacceptable not to have dogs tethered at night time," Mr Steel said.

He believed the owners of the dogs involved in the weekend’s attack would be aware their animals had been loose. 

“The dogs that did the job on Saturday night had to be covered in blood,” Mr Steel said.

The attack represented a “huge loss” to the farmer, who estimated the financial impact at $4000 – $5000. 

“The price of livestock at the moment is really expensive and when you get a volume kill people need to be responsible for their pets,” Mr Steel said. 

Police attended the property on Sunday to investigate the attack.

Mr Steel said the deceased sheep were part of a mob of about 200 breeding ewes and 250 lambs.