Seven sheep were found dead near Hastings yesterday after apparently being attacked by a dog.
Police were called to the scene, and discovered that two ewes and three lambs had been found dead on land at Chick Hill, Pett Level, near Hastings.
Later, two more ewes were found dead nearby and officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen what happened or who may have other relevant information, police said.
PCSO Daryl Holter said: “Sheep are valuable assets and any harm to them harms a farmer’s livelihood.
“It is every dog’s instinct to chase, even if usually obedient, but this can seriously damage livestock. A dog on the loose can be enough to panic sheep and in the case of pregnant ewes may even cause them to abort their lambs.”
“Fences and field boundaries can be damaged or destroyed as frightened sheep try to escape, and lambs can die from starvation or hypothermia if separated from their mothers.
“They can also fall victim to ‘fly strike’, where they become infested with maggots, if blood attracts insects to their plight.”
Police say they believe the attack happened on Wednesday afternoon.
Officers are in touch with the farmer to whom the sheep belong and are investigating. Swabs have been taken from the carcasses and efforts are being made to trace the dog or dogs responsible for the killing and also their owners, police say.
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act it is a criminal offence to let a dog worry sheep, and owners/handlers risk being fined. This includes physical attacks on ewes or lambs, chasing or other behaviour which may harm them.
PCSO Holter said costly veterinary bills and disruption to farming routine were other aspects that needed to be considered.
He repeated advice that dogs should always be kept on a lead or securely contained when livestock were nearby, and urged owners to pay close heed. Failure to exercise proper control could mean their pets being shot dead by farmers as a last resort when protecting their flocks, PCSO Holter added.
Anyone with information concerning the Chick Hill attack is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 285 of 14/06.