Pregnant sheep left to die after suffering crushed skull and ripped stomach in 'horrific' dog attack
PUBLISHED: 15:04 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:26 06 January 2020
A pregnant ewe was left to die in a field with crows pecking at her body after suffering mortal injuries in a 'horrific' dog attack.
The sheep was part of a 36-strong flock, grazing in a closed field in Salcombe Regis, which was attacked on Saturday, January 4.
Farmer Nicola Westlake, who lives in Branscombe, was alerted of the incident by her neighbour, who spotted crows on the downed sheep in Salcombe Regis.
Mrs Westlake said: "She was attacked by something large.
"I could see jaw marks across her nose and mouth - there were teeth marks across her head and her skull was crushed.
"She had been ripped along her belly and around her rear end and left to die in the field with crows pecking at her flesh."
The ewe had to be put down in the field, as she was too gravely injured to be taken to the vets.
Mrs Westlake said the field the sheep was being housed in was closed off to the public, and specially selected for that reason.
She said: "More than 65 per cent of our fields have footpaths through them.
"We have to consider carefully where we put our sheep."
Mrs Westlake said she believes the field was accessed by a dog which either jumped the fence, under a gate or tunnelled under via a badger hole.
She added: "We have 36 sheep in that field. All of the others were bunched up in the corner of the field - obviously they had been chased as they were all together in a huddle.
"The dog must have managed to pick off one of them.
"We have been out this morning and they are still in a group.
"They won't move away from each other, they are traumatised.
"We do not know if that will lead to a loss of lambs from not even being injured."
Mrs Westlake is now urging all dog owners to act responsibly while out on walks by keeping their pets on a lead while close to, or approaching, livestock.
"Even the most well-trained dog is still an animal, which has an instinct to chase things," she said. "I can't believe that someone did not know what happened.
"Their dog would have been covered in blood.
"That's what upsets me the most - that they must have had an idea but they chose to do nothing and let a sheep die in pain with crows pecking at it.
"It is just horrific."