2:01pm Monday 18th February 2013
By Clare Hardy
Farmers have been left devastated after nearly all their 20 sheep were viciously attacked by an unknown pack of animals.
Four of the ewes Carol and Peter Jacques keep at their smallholding in Stapleford Abbotts, some pregnant, have had to be put down so far after the flock was ravished by the mystery beasts on Saturday night.
Mr Jacques, 57, who discovered the injured livestock as he went out to feed them at 9.30am on Sunday, said: “I saw three ewes on their backs, bleeding from great big gash wounds in their necks and bodies.
“They had been there some hours, but were all still alive, although they’ve had to be put down.
“One was missing and she had run into the lake and drowned in the bull rushes, with her back leg torn apart.
“The others were cowering in the corners of the field. “There were little puffs of wool everywhere. It was horrific.”
Only their ram, which was in a separate field, was spared injury.
The couple have been breeding from the pregnant ewe that drowned, which they call Shirley the Sheep, since they first started keeping Jacob and South Downs sheep at the Stapleford Road farm 10 years ago.
Mrs Jaques, who is also in her 50s, said: “Shirley had lambed every year and had adopted lambs and to find her drowned in the lake is just awful.”
The couple did not wake up during the attack, or see any animals on their land, but believe a pack of large dogs may be responsible.
Mr Jacques said: “On Facebook, there’s a story that Alsatians have been loose in Stapleford Abbotts, although there’s no evidence.
“It must have been three or four dogs if it was dogs. I found some large paw prints.”
He said he was willing to offer a reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of anyone responsible.
A police spokeswoman said the matter had been recorded, but officers would not investigate.
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