Farmer shot family's tiny cockapoo in face 'then smiled at owner'

A dog owner has claimed a sheep farmer ‘smiled at her’ after shooting her pet in the face.

Kerri Malley, 40, said she was walking Benji the 17-inch tall cockapoo near a field when it bolted after touching an electric fence.

After a ten-minute search, Kerri said she entered the farmer’s field waving her arms to attract his attention.

The mum-of-three claims she asked him if he’d seen Benji and he smiled and said: ‘Yes, I’ve shot it, help yourself, it’s in the back.’

She said Benji was barely breathing when she found him in the back of the farmer’s trailer. Kerri raced him to the vets but he could not be saved.

Cheshire Constabulary investigated and said the farmer ‘found a dog attacking a sheep’ and was allowed to shoot it under the Animals Act 1971.

Kerri said: ‘My Benji was lying there, having been shot in the face. I fell to my knees in complete shock of what I was witnessing.

‘I find it incredibly hard to stomach that a burly farmer such as this had him within reach to kick, but not to grab him and place him in the back of the Land Rover.

‘My personal impression is Benji was a mere trophy, and nothing I do now can bring him back.

‘I think there needs to be a greater awareness to dog owners of the implications when choosing to let your dog off its lead.

‘I am not condoning sheep worrying and its lack of importance, but there has to be a more humane way to deal with it in this day and age, so innocent family pets are not killed unnecessarily.’

Kerri, a director at a car credit company, claims the field in Sandbach, Cheshire, had a flock of sheep, but the cockapoo did not touch or harm them.

She admits one sheep was in a muddy pond when she arrived, but said it freed itself when she was there.

Under the Animals Act 1971 it is legal to shoot a dog that is ‘worrying’ livestock, if the farmer believes sheep were in immediate danger and the actions were reasonable.

A police spokesperson said: ‘Officers received a report was received at around 2.30pm on Friday 13 November in the Sandbach area, a farmer had found a dog attacking a sheep.

‘The farmer, unable to contain the dog and in order to protect the livestock, shot the dog in accordance with the Animals Act 1971 which resulted in the dog’s death.

‘The farmer immediately informed the police, officers carried out an investigation and found that no criminal offences had taken place.

‘The owners of the dog have been informed. During the course of the investigation, further reports of malicious communications were made and enquiries are ongoing.’

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