Dogs Slaughter Flock of Lambs in Deliberate, 'Despicable' Act, Police Say

Dogs are thought to have killed a flock of lambs in a "brutal" attack that police believe was a deliberate and "despicable act" on the part of the owners.

The attack is thought to have occurred between Friday evening and the early hours of Saturday morning local time at a farm in Nottinghamshire, in the East Midlands region of England, police said.

The offenders are thought to have entered private property linked to the farm, before setting the dogs onto the flock, police said according to the BBC. It is not clear how many dogs were involved in the attack.

The farmer initially found 13 of his lambs dead, and another five severely injured.

The farmer alerted police who responded to the scene. Another of the lambs died after police arrived, and another four were euthanized by a local vet due to the extent of their injuries.

Most of the lambs were left in a pile while the remainder were scattered nearby, leading police to suspect that the act was deliberate, Nottinghamshire Live reported.

Chief Inspector Chris Sullivan from Nottinghamshire Police, said in a statement: "This was a terrible and despicable act and has understandably left the farmer completely distraught. One theory is that dogs have possibly been set loose in the field during the night. Some of the lambs were found dead but others had to be put to sleep because their injuries were so severe.

Sullivan said: "Our officers and our specials rural crime team are now working with the RSPCA [Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] to track down who has committed such a brutal and inhumane act like this. This is totally unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated at any cost."

The chief inspector asked members of the public who have have information or may have have witnessed any suspicious activity on Friday evening or early Saturday morning to alert police so those responsible could be brought to justice.

It is estimated that the loss of the eighteen lambs will cost the farmer more than £1,600 ($2,250.)

The latest incident is not the only time that dogs have attacked a flock of sheep in England recently. In April, a number of ewes and lambs were attacked by a dog off its lead at a farm in Somerset in the southwest of the country.

The farmer, Joe Dunning, told Somerset Live at the time that he arrived at the field to find "very frightened" sheep. One of the lambs had suffered a neck injury so severe that it could not move its hind legs. The animal later died of its injuries.

A pair of lambs
Stock image showing a pair of lambs. Eighteen lambs were killed by dogs in Nottinghamshire, England, in what police believe was a deliberate act. iStock