DEVASTATED pet owner Tam Sudlow has told of her horror at finding her precious tortoise being attacked by a ferret.
Tam had left Seb in his run in the back garden for a few minutes while she went to collect her granddaughter from her nursery.
She returned to find the ferret clinging onto the tortoise, and rushed over to save her pet.
She succeeded in shaking the ferret off, but Seb was put to sleep later that day because of the severity of his injuries.
Tam and her partner live at Stocks Meadow off Weaver Street, Winsford.
They and their family and neighbours spent the evening trying without success to catch the ferret, which was still in their garden on their return from the vets.
They learned subsequently from a lost-and-found website that the animal had been caught.
“It was decided to put Seb to sleep because his arms had been so badly damaged by the ferret he would not have been able to use them,” said Tam.
“It’s something I do not want to ever see in my life again.
“You don’t expect to find a ferret in your garden, and I will always regret letting Seb out in his run for those 20 minutes.
“Seb was 13, was very tame and lived indoors. On sunny days he loved to bask in his garden, where he had his own vegetable plot and sectioned area.
“Our three-year-old granddaughter Alexis loved to feed Seb, and we had only let him out when we were at home and for short periods, never overnight.
“We appreciate the ferret was acting out of instinct. However this devastating incident emphasises the need to make sure pets’ housing is secure.
“Ferrets can be loving animals, but they can also be a danger to smaller animals and young children.”
The tortoise was attacked on April 22, and was taken by his distressed owners to Birch Heath vets at Tarporley.
They tried in vain until 2am the next morning to catch the ferret, which is believed to have escaped into an adjacent estate.