Sheep owner speaks of shock after flock is savaged in Upton

Upton Broad. Picture: Mike Page.

Upton Broad. Picture: Mike Page.

A sheep owner has spoken of his shock after a several of his flock were savaged by what he believes to have been dogs.

Rupert Beeby, who grew up in Upton and now lives in Southampton, still keeps Soay sheep on the marshes of Upton Broad, near his parent's farm on Prince of Wales Road.

However, he was shocked when his neighbour - who tends to the flock-of-eight - told him he had found three dead last Sunday morning, bloodied at the jaws of another animal.

A fourth was severely injured at later died, while a further two had fled and leapt into a nearby dyke. The two that survived unharmed physically, still suffered trauma

Among those killed was Wheezi - the only member of the flock to have been given a name, due to his characteristic cough.

Mr Beeby, 57, said: 'I am gutted, particularly as they are a fairly rare breed. We have been keeping sheep here for around 20 years and have never had any problems like this before.

'We still don't know exactly what it was that did it, but they are hardy sheep and the jaw marks look too big to have been from a fox. They were mutilated.'

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It is thought the attacks happened at some stage between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, of the weekend of December 3-4.

Mr Beeby added: 'I want people to understand that big dogs can do damage and if their owners let them run around free this is what they may well do.

'Personally, I don't think people should keep big dogs at all. They are used to protect but can attack, which will harm or even kill.'

Mr Beeby's neighbour reported the incident to police the following morning, who say they are aware of the situation but that there is insufficient evidence that it was not caused by a wild animal.

Police have, however, appealed for anybody who may have seen anything or have any information to contact them on 101.

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