Just days after pleading to dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash, the owners of a Metchosin sheep farm saw another attack.
Tom Henry, who owns the Stillmeadow Farm in Metchosin with his wife Violaine Mitchell, is asking the municipality to install new signage on the right-of-way path on the farm known as the “Sea Bluff Trail.”
The trail was designated for locals by Mitchell’s grandfather over 60 years ago. In the 1980s, it became public land. Now roughly 125 sheep wander through the fields the path goes through.
Henry said between five and eight lambs are killed by off-leash dogs on his farm every year. On Sunday, he saw a black dog off-leash running toward some sheep. The previous week, he had asked for respect from dog owners.
“They were utterly panicked and the dog was nipping at their heels,” Henry said about the Sunday incident.
“Cougars and bears are quite difficult but dammit you should be able to put a leash on a dog for the short period you walk through this farm.”
Henry said the sheep are not sleeping under the trees and are sheltering in the middle of the field because they are still scared of the recent attack.
On Monday, Henry went to the District of Metchosin’s council to share his concerns. The council asked if he wanted a dog ban but Henry said the municipality should install new signage. He also wants dog owners to take responsibility for their pets and keep their dogs under control.
“The farm is the trail and the trail is the farm. It’s almost been a public aspect to this farm and we don’t think that this issue is unsolvable,” Henry said
Council will reconvene on the matter next week.
“It needs to be understood that dogs and sheep are not a good combination. Even friendly dogs that have no intention of killing anything can run a sheep to death,” Metchosin Mayor John Ranns said.