Lambs mauled to death in ‘horrific’ two-dog attack

Lambs mauled to death in ‘horrific’ two-dog attack

8 August 2018

A FARMER has appealed to dog owners to keep their pets under control after a number of lambs were savagely mauled in a horrific attack last week.

Three of the animals had to be put down as the injuries they sustained were so severe, while others had to be treated by a vet following the incident near Ernie Patterson’s farm outside Killyleagh.

The nature of some of the injuries are so shocking that not all the photographs taken in the wake of the attack could be put in the public domain. Mr Patterson said it looked as though the lambs had been put through a shredder.

He said some of the animals had their flesh torn and it would appear that they were attacked on both sides of their body by dogs.

The attack happened on Tuesday morning of last week and Newry, Mourne and Down Council has confirmed it received reports of a black Labrador-type dog and black and white Collie dog in the nearby area.

Mr Patterson said he and his wife had gone out as normal to feed the lambs but immediately noticed they were not in the paddock area where they had been the previous day.

“We discovered a hole in the fence beside a gate and noticed some blood in the water trough. The lambs had been driven through one fence, across a field and through another fence,” he explained.

“A number of the lambs had severe injuries on both sides around the neck area and it looked as though they had been attacked simultaneously which would mean at least two dogs were involved in this.”

Mr Patterson said the vet who treated the injured animals shares his view, suggesting the lambs had been gripped around the neck and dragged to the ground, with the dogs hanging on either side of the animal.

“What my wife and I witnessed was absolutely horrific,” he continued. “The vet said she had never seen anything like the extent of the injuries before. It appeared as though the animals had been through a shredder given the way their flesh had been torn.”

Mr Patterson said while three of the lambs had to be put down, others had to have injuries stitched by the vet and are being given daily medication.

He continued: “This is the last thing we need. The wounds the lambs sustained were horrific and contained largely to the neck and shoulder area. But it wasn’t just bite or puncture wounds the animals sustained, it was tares to their flesh.

“We discovered two of the lambs with holes in their shoulders; lumps had just been lifted out of them and while they were alive they had to be put down.”

Mr Patterson said he contacted police following the attack and was informed about the two dogs spotted nearby.

“It feels like too much of a coincidence that dogs were reported in the area a short time before the lambs were attacked. I have been left to count the cost and it is important farmers in the area know that killer dogs are on the loose.

“The dogs involved in this attack would have been covered in blood by the time they got home and I have no doubt their owners are not going to come forward. I would appeal to all dog owners to keep their pets under control and most people do this very well.

“I know lots of people who have dogs and look after them extremely well, but there are some out there who leave their dogs to their own devices. Some dog owners are not just aware what the family pet that lies on the hearth is capable of in open countryside.”

Rowallane councillor Robert Burgess, a member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union’s Executive Committee, whose sheep have been mauled by dogs in the past, said pet owners must be responsible.

“What happened recently outside Killyleagh was truly horrific. Dogs should not be allowed to roam free in the countryside and their owners must be more responsible. Farming is hard enough at the best of times and dogs which hunt and kill sheep will do it again,” he said.

“These attacks must stop and for that to happen, dog owners need to ensure their pets cannot escape to create mayhem on farmland. Farmers have enough to contend with and should not be left counting the cost when attacks of this nature occur.”