Ewe dies in Farway after side of its face is bitten in savage dog attack
PUBLISHED: 17:01 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:22 13 February 2020
A sheep has died after the side of its face was savagely bitten in a suspected dog attack that took place on the outskirts of Honiton.
Farway-based farmer Pauline Hopkins made the grisly discovery when attending her flock of sheep on Saturday, February 8.
One of her ewes, still sitting up, was found with a catalogue of devastating injuries - bite marks on her hind legs and her nose and her jaw seriously injured.
Mrs Hopkins, who cares for 40 ewes and their lambs on Farway Common, said: "When I arrived, I thought the sheep was not very well - the others were coming towards me to be fed and this one was on its own. I realised it was not breathing.
"I reckon it was just in pain, traumatised and it sat down and slowly died."
Mrs Hopkins did not suspect a dog attack until she noticed the bite marks on the ewe's legs.
Two other ewes also suffered bite marks to their mouths, and one other was found with blood daubed on to its coat - but otherwise unharmed.
Mrs Hopkins said the ewe's death had left its lamb orphaned, and it had since been cared for by the family indoors.
"I was upset when I first saw it," she said. "I think the ewe had gone through some suffering.
"We have had a hard lambing season this year because of the weather - it has been hard work.
"The lambs are not doing quite as they should be."
As well as the emotional strain, Mrs Hopkins had been forced to accept the financial implications the attack has left.
One lamb has also disappeared from the flock, and still has not been found.
Mrs Hopkins said: "I would like the person to come forward and own up, but I am sure that they won't.
"I want dog owners to know that their dear little dogs can cause harm to livestock.
"People are not aware that their dogs would do anything like that but it does happen."
The incident is the second to have been reported in East Devon in the last two months.
Last month, a Salcombe Regis farmer discovered one of her pregnant ewes still alive, but seriously injured, in her field.
The animal had suffered a crushed skull and bites to its jaw and nose as well as other serious injuries.
The injuries were so severe, the ewe had to be put down.