Police seize dogs after sheep deaths
POLICE have seized two dogs in connection with a mass sheep attack.
A total of 13 sheep were savaged to death, and several others badly wounded, in the slaughter at Fincham Farm, in Upper Hartfield.
Farmer John Twyford arrived at the scene with his apprentice, Gala Bailey-Barker, who immediately contacted a vet on the morning of September 3.
Gala, 23, said: "John got a call saying there had been an attack and that it was bad. When we got there, we noticed the sheep were all scattered around.
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"A lot of them looked like they were dead and others were completely unable to move."
The remaining eight sheep and one ram in the field managed to escape, though the majority of them still suffered injuries.
Gala, of Old Plaw Hatch Farm in Sharpthorne, added: "It was very traumatic.
"I did lambing this year so I knew a lot of them individually, having fed them several times a day.
"I spent a lot of time with them and consequently they were very friendly towards me. It's just such a waste of life. It's completely irresponsible to let your dog out into a field full of livestock. You just have to be so careful because a lot of dogs will chase sheep given the chance and once they start, it's hard to stop them."
Ashdown Forest ranger Rich Allum said the incident happened almost exactly two weeks to the minute after a similar attack on livestock in nearby Colemans Hatch.
"It was quite strange, but it's likely to be the same dogs," he said. "We're very keen that this is sorted out, because it's horrible and entirely unacceptable."
He added: "If a dog is caught chasing or attacking a sheep, we are allowed to shoot them and we will.
"Dogs that are out of control should be kept on leads because until they are stopped, they will keep on doing it."
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said the owner of two dogs suspected of the attack had been located and officers are investigating.
She also confirmed the dogs, which are believed to be German Shepherds, were taken in to be tested.
It is understood that two of the deceased sheep are in a freezer ready to be examined for traces of the dogs' DNA.
The Conservators of Ashdown Forest said that despite hearing of numerous dog attacks on livestock in recent years, this is the first occasion where they believe there is "hard evidence".
The police investigation continues.