Farmyard bloodbath as 30 sheep killed in ‘atrocious’ Christmas dog attack

An “atrocious” dog attack on a flock of sheep has left 30 of the farmyard animals dead.

Officers from the Cheshire Police and Rural Crime unit were called to a farm in Utkinton after the bodies were discovered on Sunday.

They believe the attack occurred at the farm off John Street late on Christmas Eve or early on Christmas Day.

A statement on the Cheshire Police and Rural Crime Facebook page read: "PC Marson and I have been out to the death of around 30, yes thirty poor Ovine livestock [sheep] following yet another abhorrent sheep-worrying incident."

The statement continued: "Only limited actual bloody attack wounds are present indicating a dog [or dogs] have chased and worried the majority of the sheep to stressed and panicked exhaustion."

"The attack is not only an animal cruelty criminal offence but is a huge loss to the farmer.

"This attack with the limited injuries is a case in point to illustrate that dogs need not be ferocious or actually necessarily physically attack livestock to cause catastrophic results."

Police urged dog owners walking in the countryside to always ensure that their dog is under control and reminded the public that the Animals Act 1971 imposes "Strict Liability" on this key point following a livestock attack – meaning that there is no defence.

Police enquiries are ongoing, reports Cheshire Live, and anyone with any information is urged to get in touch with police on 101.

The attack has attracted an outpouring of support for the farmer from social media users.

Gill Bridgeman wrote: "Sickening to see this yet again!

"Dogs should be on leads in a field of livestock, whether the dog is obedient or not – it's out of respect to the farmer. And if you have no recall of your dog, it is not under control and shouldn't be off a lead anywhere!"

William Patton added: "Absolutely horrendous and still people claim their dogs wouldn't do this . They are pack animals it's in their nature, I don't blame the dogs it's 100% irresponsible owners at fault."

Anna Pacheco said: "I'm so sorry for the farmer, not only have those poor animals died like that but it's also a considerable financial loss too."

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