Sheep killed in attack by large ‘stray dog’

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An overnight animal attack has decimated a small flock of sheep on a farm near Doncaster.

Russell Toothill’s daughter discovered four dead sheep among a group of ten, which had been grazing an orchard to the rear of the farmhouse at Acomb Farm, Blaxton, yesterday morning. The remaining six animals were badly injured, with a fifth sheep having to be put down by vets.

Mr Toothill said he believed a large stray dog was to blame, judging by paw prints left in the vicinity of the attack.

“Police said the prints suggested it was much bigger than a German Shepherd,” Mr Toothill said.

“My son’s partner believes she saw a large brown animal running around a while ago. I believe it’s a dog; a long-term stray.

“It’s a serious concern when I have 400-500 other sheep. I have had dog attacks before and have lost sheep but I’ve never walked into a pen of sheep and found half of them dead. All ten sheep were either killed or badly mauled.

“The size of the animal has to be a concern. What would it do to a small human being?”

He said he wants dog walkers to take heed of the attack as more people visit the countryside now spring has arrived.

“Please be mindful of sheep and lambs in the fields. Dogs think they are playing but it can cause sheep to panic, and can cause them to run and get cut or hang in wire fences. This is a problem that is nationwide and I don’t want another farmer to experience what has happened here.”

Richard Pearson, regional director for the National Farmers’ Union, said: “Livestock worrying is completely unnecessary and totally preventable. Most owners do act responsibly and control their dogs, however, when they don’t the consequences can be awful.”