Firefighters got stuck in to rescue more than a dozen sheep that fled from dogs – and got trapped in freezing mud.
The traumatised flock were found in such a bad state after the attack, two of them had died and others had open wounds.
Firefighters say 14 woolly animals had spent the night in the freezing cold, trapped in a muddy pond up to their chest, in Salfords, Surrey.
“I’m from a farming background, so I had a little more of an understanding of the situation.
“It was a case of getting evidence to police as it’s a criminal offence to let dogs worry sheep and have a rescue plan in place.
“Dog owners must understand that they need to control their pets.
“They must keep their dogs on leads when around livestock and if they leave them outside at night ensure that they can’t run away.
“Dogs can cause huge stress and worry to sheep, especially at this time of year when ewes are in-lamb and heavier and less mobile.”The specialist animal rescue unit used an ice path, an inflatable device resembling a giant lilo that provides a platform over ice or mud.
Firefighters had to get into the mud to lift the sheep and put them on the inflatable platform.
Karen Pointer, assistant group commander, who attended as an animal rescue officer, said: “The animals had been terrorised and corralled into the muddy pool.”
“Once they were freed, most were happy to rejoin the rest of the flock but the three that were injured were penned separately and it was left to the owner to decide what to do.
“They had open wounds and had been trapped overnight when temperatures were down to freezing.”
The same flock of sheep had suffered two other dog attacks on the farmer’s stock in the previous two days.