19 September, 2008

Harsh reality

In the middle of last night, one of my friend Suzanne's alpacas was attacked by a dog and killed. Suzanne was woken by the alpacas' alarm call but was too late to save poor Pudding. Apparently she is the fourth farmer in the last 10 days to lose livestock on her stretch of road and it seems likely that an illegal gang of lampers is targeting that area. Lampers are night hunters and it isn't illegal but you are supposed to have permission from the landowners, have licensed guns and stay away from roads and houses . Lamping has a chequered history and has resulted in at least one accidental death of a boy in 2004. (I didn't know this stuff until Suzanne and the internet explained it to me).

Hopefully these people and their dog got the shock of their lives when the alpacas screamed and they won't be coming back that way. But it makes you realise how vulnerable livestock really are. There is after all little way to stop a dog which has been deliberately released into a field in dead of night from attacking sheep or in the case the alpacas. And though the police were sympathetic there isn't much they can do to police a large rural area.

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