A FAMILY pet has been shot dead by a farmer after it slipped its lead and attacked sheep in the Cheshire countryside.

The horrific incident happened on Sunday afternoon (March 13) with the police saying the farmer had been left with "no choice" but to shoot the dog.

Sgt Simpson of the Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team said "there were no positive bits" to his social media post saying the sad event laid bare the need for dog owners to stay away from livestock unless they know their pet is "suitably-trained".

He said: "This is a very sad event which has resulted in significant injury to a lamb and the death of a dog.

"One of our most complained about social media lines is "Your dog your responsibility" - mainly because this subject can be very emotive.

"However it's a message we stand by.

"This horrific incident was witnessed by the owner who tried to recall the dog, but it wouldn't return.

"Numerous attempts were made by the dog's owner and the farmer who arrived on scene, before they were left with no other option.

"Again the action taken was witnessed by everyone present and it's upsetting for all involved.

"No-one wants to shoot a family pet, but it's clear in law that someone protecting their livestock have this option available to them.

"Ask yourself, if my dog broke free from its lead, am I happy that it will listen to my commands? Have I really got 'control'?

"If you're not sure, please keep it away from livestock, even if you're using a lead.

"My thoughts in general and not specific to this sad incident, is that any dog under your control should be suitably trained before opting to rely on a lead when near livestock.

"Essentially, a lead shouldn't be thought of as your primary control method."

The crime of worrying livestock, which took place in Disley, is being dealt with by the police and those involved.