WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A FARMER has released horrific CCTV of the moment two out-of-control dogs mauled a pregnant ewe to death – and then started ripping it apart.
The graphic and distressing attack, which lasted around 40 minutes, was caught on cameras at Catterton Hall Farm in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire last Saturday.
The two lurchers were captured chasing three petrified ewes around the farm before managing to drag one to the ground.
The sheep, nicknamed Big Mama, was killed in the prolonged attack – along with her two unborn who were due to be born two days later.
North Yorkshire Police are now appealing to find the dog owners in a bid to tackle the increasing problem of sheep worrying around the UK.
Stuart Lawton, owner of the farm, today said he was “devastated” over the loss of Big Mama.
He said: “What happened was just so, so wrong. It’s devastated us.
“It’s tragic what happened. Her pet name was Big Mama because she is just so big. She’s lovely, we’ve had her since she was a lamb.
“She was just a joy, she ran the show. She was just lovely.
“She was scanned in January and had already had two lambs, last year, two lambs the year before, so this was her third.
“The ewes are Zwarbtles and they’re so lovely. They will come to you instead of running away.
“The lurchers entered the premises and ran over three fields to get to the sheep.
“They started attacking them at one minute past eight and she was on the ground, still moving 36 minutes later. She stopped moving a few minutes after that.
“The other two ewes managed to get away. They were hiding in a yard and had broke through electric fence to get there.
“The owner had let them go or lost them. They will be caught, the owner will be prosecuted and those dogs will be put down.”
Amy Morrison, county advisor at the National Farmers Union, said: “This incident is shocking and adds to the litany of graphic and very upsetting images we see every year of sheep left maimed and killed by dog attacks.
“The impact of these attacks on farmers is massive, both emotionally and financially.
“Farmers look after over 70% of the UK’s countryside and many public footpaths go through our land, so it’s vital that we establish measures to ensure both livestock and dogs are kept safe.”
Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “Livestock worrying is a criminal offence, which is estimated to cost the farming community around £1.3m per year nationally. These graphic images are a reminder of the shocking consequences.
“Quite apart from the impact on their livelihoods, it is absolutely devastating for farmers to come across the bodies of sheep who have been attacked and then left to suffer a slow and painful death.
“Unfortunately, such attacks are a growing problem in rural communities, and North Yorkshire Police is part of a working group aiming to tackle the problem.
“We need dog owners to take responsibility for their animals – it’s particularly important that they keep their dogs on leads and under control when they make their way through sheep fields, and that where dogs are kept at home is secure.”
A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police today (wed) said: “Police are investigating an incident in dogs attacked and killed a pregnant ewe on a farm near Tadcaster.
“At about 8pm on 14 April 2018, two lurcher dogs – one black and one white – entered a field in the Catterton area and attacked a group of sheep. One ewe was killed, as were its two unborn lambs.
“North Yorkshire Police are investigating the incident and appealing for any information. Please contact police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Quote reference number 12180064128 when passing information.”
Earlier this year, a report from the National Police Chiefs’ Council Livestock Worrying Police Working Group revealed that around 11 per cent of livestock worrying incidents involve repeat offenders.