Dozens of pregnant sheep ‘horrifically mauled’ by dogs at Horsted Keynes farm

Dozens of pregnant sheep were ‘horrifically mauled’ by dogs at a farm in Horsted Keynes leaving farmers and the community ‘emotional’.

Police were alerted to the incident on Sunday (January 13), at Hillsdown Farm, Birch Grove, Horsted Keynes.

Officers said it is the second such incident in the area in recent weeks – and are urging anyone who knows the dogs to come forward.

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Gala Bailey-Barker, the shepherd at the farm, said: “On the morning of Sunday, January 13, a flock of 32 of our pregnant ewes were attacked by two dogs.

Sheep at Hillsdown Farm in Horsted Keynes. Picture: Gala Bailey-Barker

“All of them suffered serious injuries but 15 were so horrifically mauled we had to put them down.

“We are doubtful that many of the remaining ewes will have retained their lambs.”

Gala said this was the second attack on sheep in the area in the past month. “Exactly a month ago another flock of sheep, less than a mile from Hillsdown Farm, were attacked,” she said.

“The description of the dogs in our attack on Sunday, match that of the dogs seen in December.

Scores of pregnant sheep were attacked by dogs at Hillsdown Farm in Horsted Keynes. Picture: Gala Bailey-Barker

“In both cases two dogs were involved. One large, black, tan and white, possibly a Fox Hound/Alsatian cross and the other smaller and darker in colour, mostly brown.

“The dogs were spotted at 9.15am on Sunday but had been attacking sheep in the field for quite some time. They ran off through the lower end of the field heading in the direction of Birch Grove or the A275.

“As a result of this attack, not only have we lost 15 ewes but also their unborn lambs.

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“The emotional impact on our farmers and the rest of the community cannot be understated.”

Gala is calling for anyone with information to come forward. “Someone knows whose dogs these are,” she said, adding: “We are reaching out to the community for information. We feel we need to bring the true ferocity of these attacks to everyone’s attention.

“Any information will be treated confidentially. You can call the farm directly on 01342 810652 or Sussex Police on 101 and quote incident number 47190006702.

“These attacks are happening on a regular basis in this area.”

Police confirmed they were investigating the incident. A spokesman said: “Sussex Police is investigating an incident where numerous sheep have been attacked and killed by two dogs. The dogs are described as being Alsatian/Foxhound type.

“The incident occurred at Hillsdown Farm, Horsted Keynes, and we are appealing to anyone with information to please call 101 or email [email protected] quoting Serial 0354 of 13/01.

“This is the second such incident in the local area in recent weeks and we will be doing everything possible to identify the dogs and take action to prevent further attacks.”

Inspector Jon Gross added: “Someone will know who these dogs belong to and I would urge them to do the responsible thing and get in touch with us without delay.

“Dog owners are reminded to keep their dogs on leads whilst out walking near livestock, and that sheep worrying is a crime like any other and it is important that it is treated as such.

“The owners and handlers of dogs that chase or attack sheep must be made aware of the serious consequences sheep worrying can have and be held accountable for their actions.

“Sheep/Farm owners, a limited amount of laminated posters can be obtained from your local police station.”

Last Easter, the National Farmers Union (NFU) launched a campaign urging dog walkers to #takethelead

The union said thousands of sheep and cattle die as a result of injuries caused by dogs every year, and livestock worrying costs the industry an estimated £1.6million.