A FARMER has issued a warning to dog owners following a spate of attacks on sheep in Rivington.

It comes after an animal at Higher Knoll Farm was put to sleep after being attacked on Tuesday morning.

The Swaledale ewe was in lamb at the time, and the babies have also died.

It is the tenth time the farm has been targeted since the beginning of January.

Megan Needham, who works at the farm, took to social media yesterday to post pictures of the sheep's horrific injuries, and urged dog owners to keep their pets on leads in the area around Rivington.

 Ms Needham, aged 27, said: "This is not a one off attack. We have had 10 since the beginning of January.

"My dad went to feed the sheep and he found one who had all her nose and bottom jaw ripped off by a dog.

"It is upsetting to see, but the fact someone let their dog do that and then walked off is also upsetting."

Ms Needham added that two weeks ago, farm workers had been forced to shoot a dog after it ran away from its owner and attacked a sheep, while there have been another two attacks on sheep in the last week.

After one, a sheep had to be put to sleep after having its leg ripped off.

"We love dogs as much as anyone else, but when they are viciously attacking livestock then there is nothing we can do other than shoot it," said Ms Needham.

”It is not just us, there are a lot of dog attacks happening at the moment. It seems to be a lack of education.

 "I do not think people realise what their dog is capable of."

"People need to put their dogs on a lead when going through fields in Rivington, it's not a playground."

Lancashire Constabulary confirmed that they were investigating the latest attack.

A spokesman for the force said: "We were called at about 12.10pm yesterday to a property on Rivington Lane.

"A Swaledale ewe had been attacked by a dog off its lead and the sheep had to be put to sleep."