Farmer shoots family’s beloved pet cockapoo that strayed into field 'then smiles at pet's owner'

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
Benji the dog with (L-R) Scarlett Malley, Seren Malley (back) and Sienna Malley. (SWNS)
Benji the dog with (L-R) Scarlett Malley, Seren Malley (back) and Sienna Malley. (SWNS)

A family have been left devastated after their tiny pet cockapoo was shot and killed by a farmer after it strayed into his field.

Kerri Malley, 40, was walking three-year-old Benji near a sheep field in Sandbach, Cheshire, on 13 November when he bolted away from her after touching an electric fence.

By the time the mother-of-three found the dog, he had been shot by the farmer, who allegedly claimed the dog was worrying his animals.

Devastated Mrs Malley claims she entered the field waving her arms to attract the farmer, who was stood by his Land Rover.

She claims when she asked him if he'd seen her pet, he smiled and said: “Yes, I’ve shot it, help yourself, it’s in the back.”

Scarlett Malley with Benji, who passed away minutes after arriving at a vets. (SWNS)
Scarlett Malley with Benji, who passed away minutes after arriving at a vets. (SWNS)

It was only when she looked in the trailer she saw the family pet had been shot in the face and was barely breathing, she claims.

And despite being rushed to the vets, Benji passed away just minutes after they arrived.

Cheshire Constabulary investigated and said the farmer “found a dog attacking a sheep” and was allowed to shoot it.

But Mrs Malley, from Winterley, Cheshire, claims the farmer told her Benji did not touch or harm his sheep – and is calling for a change in the law.

She 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.

Seren Malley and Benji, who was shot by a farmer after straying into his field. (SWNS)
Seren Malley and Benji, who was shot by a farmer after straying into his field. (SWNS)

“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.”

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

A spokesperson from Cheshire Constabulary said in a statement: “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.

Adam Malley and Benji, who died after he was shot by a farmer. (SWNS)
Adam Malley and Benji, who died after he was shot by a farmer. (SWNS)

“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.”

The farmer could not be contacted for comment.

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