In my opinion our Manx farming industry and the Manx public were not afforded proper justice in our courts on Tuesday, April 4.

This was a sad day for justice in the Isle of Man.

We desperately need to bring in a much needed change to our outdated inadequate dog laws of our Dogs Act 1990, we need to protect our farmers, landowners and their livestock, our wildlife and the Manx public from dog attacks on the Isle of Man.

At Castleward Farm we lose livestock every year to dog attacks. The majority of attacks go unrecorded as it would be a pointless exercise and a total waste of everyone’s time.

Under the current legislation of our Dogs Act 1990, our fine police force would be powerless to do anything, only on very rare occasions we are able to catch dogs in the act of worrying and or savagely attacking livestock.

I am appalled at the derisory fine of just £300 imposed on the owner of two dogs that attacked a flock of 110 sheep at Castleward Farm Braddan, on December 1, resulting in death and inflicting horrendous injuries to a number of sheep.

I am led to believe this attack was the second attack on sheep in a matter of just two months by the same two dogs.

The maximum fine under our Dogs Act 1990, is just £2,500, unfortunately a derisory fine of just £300 was imposed on the owner of the two dogs. This is only 12% of the maximum fine that could have been imposed on the dog owner, even worse it’s only 6% per dog.

I have to ask you, our Manx public, how bad do dog attacks need to be before our courts impose the maximum fine of £2,500?

I do not criticise the courts; they can only act on the evidence put before them.

I do not harbour any ill feelings towards the owner of the two dogs, I’m sure this has been a very difficult time for her also.

We as landowners and farmers were not advised of the court date, we were not requested or invited to give evidence.

Sadly we were not afforded the opportunity to express how we feel and how this dog attack has affected us.

Clearly we are not that important.

We are just the people at the sharp end who had to actively deal with the two dogs attacking our sheep. When I had to drag one of the dogs off a severely-injured sheep with my bare hands, I then safely handed over the dog to the police when they arrived at the farm.

The police then in turn handed the dog safely back to the owner, whilst we at the farm had the delightful task of dealing with the mess the horrendous aftermath left behind by the two dogs attacking our flock of 110 sheep.

Apparently the dog owner was fined £300 and ordered to pay £700 compensation, and the two dogs have undergone some form of training.

In my opinion these two dogs have now got a taste of blood. I believe it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to train out from the two dogs their experiences of attacking sheep.

What will the authorities do if the dogs attack livestock for a third time or heaven forbid if they attack a young child?

I would be a very nervous owner if I owned these two dogs.

Alf Caine

Castleward Farm

Strang Road


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This letter was first published in the Isle of Man Examiner of April 11.