Sheep skinned alive in Burnley dog attack

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A FARMER has called for two “dangerous” dogs to be destroyed after they savaged a sheep to death on his land.

Horrified James Bracewell said the animal was “ripped to bits” by a bull mastiff and lurcher in the traumatising 40 minute incident.

A marksman was seconds away from shooting the blood-soaked dogs but their owner stepped in to save them and was later allowed home by police.

The fate of the creatures in unclear but Mr Bracewell fears they could attack again and is pushing for them to be killed under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

He said: “It was horrific. I was very distressed and Mrs Hays was in tears. I can still see it in my mind now a hard farmer but I didn’t want to see that.

“The red mist had descended and they were just intent on killing the sheep.

“They were dangerous. If they killed an animal like that, they could kill a child.”

It was Mrs Marie Hays, a neighbouring farmer, who spotted the incident which happened around 4 p.m. on Sunday in a field off New Road on the way up to Cliviger.

She tried to intervene but two youths at the scene fled, leaving the dogs tearing into the terrified sheep.

She phoned Mr Bracewell but all he could do was watch on in horror as the two dogs “played tug of war” with the sheep.

“I was worried about intervening. I thought if they are ripping a sheep to bits they might attack me.

He rang home for a marksman to come and shoot the dogs and then called police who arrived at the same time, about 20 minutes later.

“All this time the attack continued. The sheep was down. They were tearing it to pieces while it was still alive.”

The marksman entered the field, loaded his gun and was about to kill the two dogs when their owner jumped in and stopped him from shooting.

The man got the dogs under control and was allowed to take them home by officers on the scene.

“I was well within my rights to shoot the dogs,” said Mr Bracewell, who claimed there had been similar attacks on his flock in the past. “They are a danger. These dogs will do it again to a sheep or maybe even a person – they have a taste for blood.

“I just want them to be destroyed and I have a right to pursue it.”

Cliviger and Worsthorne Coun. Michael Hays, whose mother saw the attack, voiced fears about the dogs being back in the community.

“These dogs should be seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act. My concern is that those two dogs have been allowed back into the public after such a vicious attack.”

A police spokesman confirmed that officers had been called to the incident and said: “Inquiries are being made to establish whether there is any further action to be taken.”

The dog warden is also looking into this and other similar incidents.