DOZENS of sheep have been killed and others injured following a spate of attacks.

Cheshire Police officers are investigating a string of sheep worrying incidents in the county.

The latest came on Tuesday (December 19) in Middlewich, when a flock of pregnant sheep were chased in the early hours of the morning.

Sharing this news on social media along with a warning to pet owners, PC Sarah Marson of the Rural Crime Team said: “I cannot believe that I am writing about another livestock worrying/attack but here I am. This is three I am dealing with since Saturday.

“Yesterday’s incident occurred in Middlewich. The circumstances are that the flock of sheep were in a field when neighbours heard dogs barking in the early hours.

“Once daylight broke it could clearly be seen that the sheep were and had been running up and down the field for sometime.

“The farmer was informed and on this occasion, luckily, the two dogs were caught and secured by the farmer.”

She added: “Injuries appear to be only superficial at this stage. One sheep had its fleece pulled from its body and cuts to its ear, the other had cuts to its ear and was lame.

Northwich Guardian: Fortunately the injuries sustained by the flock in Tuesday's attack appear only to be superficialFortunately the injuries sustained by the flock in Tuesday's attack appear only to be superficial (Image: Middlewich Police)

“All of the sheep were heavily in lamb and that is why I say at this stage, as this type of incident can cause death of the unborn lambs. Can you imagine being heavily pregnant with triplets and being run around a field?

“The farmer wanted to get his message out about the destruction this can cause. They were only small dogs but they still caused injuries and worried the sheep. It’s not just about the sheep being attacked, it is the seriousness of livestock worrying as well.

“He does want to say that they have so many dog walkers that walk near to their farm and everyone is so respectful of his animals. This wasn’t an incident of dogs off leads but two dogs that had escaped.”

Prior to Tuesday’s non-fatal attack, Cheshire Police said there had been 25 sheep killed over the past month across four separate incidents, with three dogs shot.

With many likely to be heading on walks in the countryside with friends and family over the festive season, officers are urging people to take care and keep their dogs under control.

PC Jim Clark said: “It is vital that you keep your dog on the lead around livestock, even if you can usually trust it to come to call.

"If you live in or near a farming area, you must make sure that your dog cannot escape from your property, as it may find its way onto land containing sheep.

"Dogs should only be released from a lead if walkers are followed or chased by cattle.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry by using your lead to control your dog. This should avoid not only the devastation and financial cost to the farmer who has lost his or her sheep, but the trauma to the dog owner from their dog’s actions, and the thought it could have been shot to prevent further devastation.”