A farmer was reduced to tears after 26 of his one-week-old lambs were killed in a savage dog attack.
The animals were killed in a field in Baughurst, near Reading, some time between 9am and 1pm on Sunday, May 14, and had wounds consistent with being attacked by a large breed of dog.
An investigation has been launched by Hampshire Police who are appealing for witnesses to the attack.
Shepherd James Edwards, who farms around 4,500 sheep, was left ’heartbroken’ after discovering the dead lambs.
He told us: "I headed to the fields just after lunch and immediately saw a dead lamb on the track. I knew instantly it had been attacked by a dog. Then I started to worry.
"I could hear its mother bleating and that’s when I found another lamb. It had been chased, grabbed and crunched. Its ribs had been eaten.
"I kept finding more. I spent all day collecting dead lambs - some in the woods. They had obviously been chased there.
"It’s absolutely heartbreaking. I’m fairly tough but it brought me to tears. It’s the last thing any farmer wants to find. A totally needless attack.
"What makes it worse is the dog owners just went home. It’s gutless. There are signs all over the farm. They could have just rung me anonymously.
"We’ve had several attacks like this - but not to this scale.
Mr Edwards sent a direct message to dog walkers.
He said: "Walking your dogs in the countryside is a privilege - not a right. Do you want to keep it? Take some responsibility. Keep your dog on a lead and away from livestock.
"It’s simple. It’s not acceptable at any time of year - especially during lambing season."
PC Will Butcher, from the Country Watch Team, said: “This incident took place in a popular location for dog walkers, both locally and further afield.
“It is likely that there would have been other dog walkers in the vicinity, and I would appeal to them to come forward if they have any information about this incident or those involved.
“This attack led to the deaths of a number of lambs, and caused significant shock to other sheep and lambs present.
“The owner of these sheep, many of which were pedigree breeds, is understandably very upset.
“Dog owners are reminded that dogs should be kept on leads at all times whilst on footpaths in and around fields
“I would also ask members of the public walking their dogs in wooded areas or areas where livestock may not readily be seen to remember – if there is any doubt, there is no doubt. Please keep your dog on a lead.
“Being in possession of a dog that worries or causes injury or death to livestock is an offence which can result in prosecution and the pet being seized and destroyed. Please be mindful of the consequences.”
If you have any information relating to this case, call 101 quoting reference ’44170181134’.