A Matlock farmer has told of his struggle to rescue two lambs from a dog attack, and urged dog walkers to be more careful and keep animals on leads.
Both lambs were killed in the “horrific attack” after a black labrador darted away from its owner to hunt the month-old sheep.
Anthony Salt, who raises sheep off Sydnope Hill in Two Dales, witnessed the attack on his neighbour’s land.
He said: “I saw the dog going for them so I got my gun and went down there to investigate.
“It was horrific, they were covered in blood from head to toe.
“By the time I had got there the dog had gone, one of the sheep was dead and the other was injured so badly I had to put it down.”
Police have since identified the dog owner. And officers have urged all dog owners to be careful when walking on farmland even when they have right of way.
The Two Dales farmer who owned the lambs, Gary, 58, said the attack on Wednesday May 6 was an all too common occurrence. He added: “In January two of my pregnant ewes were killed by an Akita Japanese hunting dog.
“They only got a warning shot that time. The las thing you want to do is shoot someone’s dog, but sometimes you have to protect the sheep.”
Derbyshire police confirmed two lambs were killed by a dog near Sydnope Hill.
They said: “The duty is to understand that if dogs go and attack livestock or worry them, landowners are lawfully permitted to shoot the dog.
“Anyone identified as the owner of a dog worrying livestock can face prosecution.
“Police can also pursue dog control orders, forcing owners to muzzle their dogs or keep them on a lead at all times.
“If you’re walking through fields that you do have right of way but there is livestock, then you should seriously consider keeping your dog on a lead.”
Sheep farmer Gary added that farmers have to protect their business.
He said: “People don’t realise that this is our living. We want them to enjoy the countryside but you’ve got to be careful.
“If you let a dog chase some sheep around a field it can worry them and cause reasorption, where the lambs are stillborn due to the stress of the mother.
“These dogs don’t know the devastation they’ve caused. The owners just think they’re playing, but they’re not. Their hunting.”
National Farmers Union livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said: “Now spring is here we tend to see an increase in the number of people out walking their dogs.
“But it’s important to remember that farms are working environments so please be aware of your surroundings.
“ Where there are cows and sheep, put it on a short lead. Remember, cows are inquisitive and may come to investigate.”