Invading sheep drive street barmy

Feeding time in McKelvie Road

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Residents in Oban say they are being driven ‘barmy’ by visiting sheep fouling pavements, waking up shift workers and creating an accident risk.

The wayward flock are also munching their way across gardens – damaging ornaments and devouring lovingly-tended flowers and expensive plants.

The flock which residents want rid of.

The early morning visitors to the McKelvie Road area have been known to number as many as 20, say residents, who take pride in their homes and simply want the flock fenced in properly.

They have raised concerns about responsibility if a pet dogs on the estate worried one of the sheep, or if a sheep caused a traffic accident.

Police have reportedly told residents they have limited powers and ‘can’t arrest sheep’. Residents claim the buck keeps being passed and has been for more than a decade.

Alastair Thomson, left, and Donald MacFarlane

Donald MacFarlane, of McKelvie Road, said the sheep were wriggling through gaps in fencing between farmland and the ongoing housing development. A cow had even appeared in the street recently.

Mr MacFarlane said that in the 12 years he had lived there, the problem had never been sorted out, yet the sheep never escaped during lambing.

‘If I wanted to live on farm, I’d go and live on farm,’ said Mr MacFarlane, who grew up on one. ‘They scavenge and it’s been a constant barrage.’

The sheep appear to form an orderly queue and socially distance.

‘It might sound petty but if you put nice garden ornaments out the front of the house they all end up smashed to pieces.

‘If you have flowers, they eat them until the flowers are dead. The kids get sheep droppings on their feet and walk it into the house or the car – it gets everywhere.’

West Highland Housing Association expected residents to maintain clean and tidy homes and gardens, he said. Prospective tenants are shown around the area to demonstrate how well cared for it is.

The sheep tuck in to a residents’ flowers.

Mr MacFarlane said: ‘If others expect us to take pride and they want us to have nice-looking homes they have to help us to do that.

‘We spend money, time and effort and then find it’s all wrecked. Twelve years we have been fobbed off with either no answer at all, little answer or poor excuses.’

Neighbour Alastair Thomson, works night shifts, and had been disturbed by the noise.

He said: ‘It’s the mess they leave behind – destroying your plants and you having to buy new ones.

‘I like to put my plants out the front but this year, I’ve not bothered. It’s a bad day if you can’t leave your plants out. They seem to love my lillies and just chew them down to a stalk.’

Linda Price and Alan Turner of McKelvie Road, Oban.

Linda Price, aged 63, and support worker Alan Turner, aged 59, said they had invested a lot of time with roses, rhododendrons, pansies, and ornaments.

But the outdoor enjoyment is all confined to the back garden after the sheep grazed on all their handiwork out at the front.

They had also bought extra fencing to keep the sheep out.

Mr Turner said the sheep had been in from as early as 6am.

‘If it was someone’s dog, running about and messing the place up the way the sheep are, they’d be doing something about it,’ said Mr Turner.

Linda added: ‘It’s our first home together, we really do take pride in it and the garden is very therapeutic. But you really are watching where you walk.’

Ewe and cry over the wandering sheep.

The area is home to a combination of private home owners and properties belonging to Argyll Community Housing Association and WHHA.

WHHA chief executive Lesley MacInnes pledged that the issue would be looked into and the association would try to find a solution.

She said she fully understood the problems caused and would raise it with local councillors. She said representations had been made and it was hoped that a discussion could be held to resolve the problems.

Lambs spot the flowers and move in.
What are ewe doing in there? A sheep bolts but there are concerns around dogs and cars.