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Investigation over death of Haworth woman's pet dogs
A dog owner has spoken of her heartbreak after two of her beloved pets were shot dead by an Oxenhope farmer.
Simon Tidswell, right, admits killing the dogs, but claims he did so because they had distressed his flock of sheep and allegedly killed some lambs.
Zoe Kerr, 36, drove to the moors of Oxenhope with her three dogs on Mother’s Day when two of the pets – a German Shepherd cross called Frank and a Husky cross called Macy – ran out of sight.
Despite searching until sunset, Mrs Kerr was unable to find them and began asking round the local community, as well as searching with her friends and her other dog, Dave.
In the evening, she was told the two dogs had been found, placed on leads and handed to a local farmer, who said he would keep them in his barn until a dog warden could arrive.
When she went to collect the much-loved animals later that evening, the farmer refused to co-operate. After receiving the same response the next day, police were called and they found the bodies of the two dogs. They had been killed by a bolt gun.
Mr Tidswell, of Sandbeds Farm in Trough Lane, has since been arrested and released on bail.
Miss Kerr said: “If they had caused any harm while they were loose I would have taken full responsibility, I would have paid for any damage.”
What makes the animal’s deaths even more painful for Miss Kerr is that just 12 months ago, Frank was stolen from her home in Back River Street in Haworth during a burglary. She was eventually reunited with him five months later, when he was anonymously handed to police.
She said: “I lost him then but got him back, now I have lost him for good. He was my baby.
“I haven’t been able to sleep since I heard the news.”
Mr Tidswell admits he shot the dogs in anger, after finding three dead lambs on his farm, but maintains it was his right as a farmer to do so. He said after the dogs were handed to him, he chained them in a barn.
He added: “After that, I went to the moor to survey the damage. There were three lambs killed outright. I saw red.
“Once a dog has done something like that you won’t stop them doing it again. I shot them. I did it humanely with a captive bolt gun, the type that are used in slaughter houses.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokes-man said: “A man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. He has been released on bail. The bodies of the dogs have been seized by the RSPCA pending further investigation.”