A sheep farmer from Ranst in Antwerp province is being investigated for possible animal abuse, after fitting his two dogs with spiked steel collars (see photo) to protect them against a possible attack by the lone wolf that killed a kangaroo and injured another in the past week.
Theo De Cock told Antwerp’s ATV channel he has lost some 30 sheep in the past year to unidentified predators. If as he suspects a wolf is responsible and attacks his flock again, he wants his sheepdogs, who protect the sheep, to be as well protected as possible.
“Somebody has to take action, since we’ve seen that one of the dogs got blood on his coat.” According to De Cock, the wild animal has already made an appearance, and clashed with his two dogs, one of which was wounded on the ear. “I suppose I’m not allowed to say the word wolf any more, is that it? Am I supposed to let the wolf do what he likes? I suppose it will take a child being pulled off her bike and eaten up before something is done,” he said.
The collars, which he made himself, are not a reason to charge him with mistreating animals. “A thing like that weighs 600g, and it’s made of stainless steel,” argued. “I’m still busy working on something in titanium, that’s a bit lighter.”
According to biologist Joachim Mergeay of the Flemish Institute for Nature and Forestry Research (INBO), the chance of a human being attack is very small. “The horror stories of wolves attacking people date from the times when the animal often suffered from rabies,” he told De Standaard. “But that disease has all but vanished these days in Europe.”