Tuesday 24 September 2019

Shepherdess put out to pasture for refusing to herd sheep through village

A shepherdess in Drenthe has lost her job for refusing to take part in the local tradition of driving her sheep through the village every summer.

The ‘dorpswandeling’ is a popular tourist attraction, but Monique Tielen said heavy traffic in Exloo, 12km north of Emmen, and impatient motorists had made the event unsafe.

The Stichting Schaapkudde Exloo, which owns the herd, disagreed and blamed Tielen for not controlling her animals. ‘The dog minds the sheep and the shepherd minds the dog,’ said board member Kees van Wijngaarden. ‘In in this case the minding of the dog has never been a strong point, and that’s putting it mildly.’

Tielen took the non-profit organisation to court after receiving a letter on July 10 terminating her contract. She claimed the notice period was too short, with a new shepherd already lined up to start work in August.

The judge agreed the contract was unclear, but said it was in the interests of both parties to end their relationship. After the hearing was adjourned to allow the two sides to hold talks, they agreed that Tielen should leave on October 1.

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