Police have warned that farmers have the legal right to shoot dogs worrying sheep on their land.

The warning comes after three dogs attacked a pregnant ewe and left a four-week-old lamb with such terrible injuries it had to be put down.

The attack happened in a field at Skelmanthorpe last Friday teatime and police are investigating.

PC Caroline Newsome, of Kirklees Rural policing team, has posted distressing pictures of the bloodied lamb on Twitter and insisted they be shown as an example of what pet dogs are capable of.

A lamb savaged by a dog running loose in a field in Skelmanthorpe.


She said the incident happened near a footpath running through a farmer’s field.

There are signs asking dog owners to keep their animals on leads.

Three dogs started chasing the sheep and one dog grabbed one of the lambs.

One of the ewes, believed to be carrying twins, was bitten while the lamb had its ribs broken and a wound ripped open where its heart could be seen beating.

The lamb was treated by a vet but had to be put down. The ewe is being treated with antibiotics and the farmer hopes mother and unborn lambs will survive.

A pregnant ewe attacked by a dog in Skelmanthorpe is being treated with antibiotics.


PC Newsome said farmers could shoot and kill dogs that attack sheep.

She added: “I have two dogs myself and they are both big softies on the settee with teddy bears but I wouldn’t dream of taking them out into a field with livestock because the hunting instinct kicks in.

“It’s the same with cats. They still go out hunting and come home with a mouse.

“The message from us and the farmers is to be more responsible when out walking in the countryside with dogs.

“Ultimately, of course, lambs are going to be slaughtered but this one has been caused suffering. It was only four weeks old.”

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PC Newsome said with the loss of the lamb and the ongoing vet’s bills the farmer was already £500 out of pocket.

A lamb savaged by a dog running loose in Skelmanthorpe had to be put down.


She urged farmers to report all incidents, which would be investigated thoroughly.

Back in February the Examiner reported how sheep had been attacked and killed by dogs in Holmfirth and Netherton.

A farmer, who asked not to be named, said at the time: “All dogs should be kept on leads around livestock.

“No matter how friendly you believe your dog to be they still have the ability to chase sheep around a field and cause much unnecessary suffering and harm to innocent animals that have no way of defending themselves against dogs.”

Another added: “We have the right to shoot your dog if it is causing distress to our livestock... and we will.”