A farmer was forced to shoot a dog he caught savaging his sheep after being alerted by nearby fishermen.
Farmer Richard Young, from Wiltshire, shot the cross-breed dog after humanely destroying an injured sheep.
He told the Wiltshire Times: "The whole thing has been deeply upsetting. My sheep were in a pen the size of a tennis court and didn’t stand a chance.
“I was trying to wean one of them. It was an orphan which had been rejected by its mother and I had been bottle feeding it for the past eight weeks.
“I had given the lamb its last bottle on Saturday morning and put it in a pen during the afternoon with another sheep I had nursed back to health after it ate a poisonous plant.
“When I arrived, I found an absolutely horrific scene and was forced to humanely destroy one of my sheep immediately, as well as the dog.
“The fishermen were unable to get near to the dog, which was running between them and the carcasses of the two sheep it had attacked. They called me out and when I got there one of the sheep was still alive but very seriously hurt.
“If it had been any of my other flocks, I would have found it easier to bear but because I have spent a lot of time with these two sheep, their loss has really hit me hard.”
The fawn-coloured dog, Max, is believed to be a cross-breed and was owned by a local man, who had lost it the previous evening when it chased a deer while walking along the canal.
The dog had been off the lead during the walk but somehow it managed to free itself from its muzzle before attacking the sheep. The owner is understood to be devastated by the incident involving his dog.
PC Nigel Willcocks, of Wiltshire Police in Trowbridge, said: “The dog was a rescue dog and a cross-breed. It was quite a strong and hefty dog weighing around 50 kilos.
“The owner was taking it for an evening stroll along the Kennet & Avon Canal when he lost it after it chased a deer and spent half the night looking for it.
“Unfortunately, Max was seen worrying sheep near the Beehive off the Trowbridge Road and Mr Young was unable to stop it any other way than by shooting it.
“We would remind dog owners that they need to keep their pets under control and on a lead whilst walking in or near fields with livestock in them.”