A SOUTH Lakeland farmer has implored dog owners to keep their pets on leads around livestock after one of his sheep was bitten and left fighting for its life.

Stuart Wilson, of Wyke Farm, near Allithwaite, said: “When we were giving it its injections we could see that there were several teeth marks either side of its tail.

“The dog owner couldn’t not know (about the incident). The dog would have had blood around its mouth.”

Mr Wilson first became aware of the attack after a birdwatcher knocked on his door to tell him a sheep appeared to be in distress.

Mr Wilson, who farms sheep on marshes along the coast, brought the animal back up to the farm using a quad bike and trailer. While giving it injections, he realised the severity of what had happened.

A vet arrived from the nearby Archway practice and stitched the sheep up. However, Mr Wilson said whether the animal would survive or not was ‘touch and go’.

He was sure the damage had been done by a dog, saying there were footprints in the sand around the stricken sheep and the vet ‘could tell by the teeth marks’.

And, having footed the veterinary bill, he went on to implore that owners kept their four-legged friends on leads around livestock. There are signs reminding people to do this on the way down to the coast from his farm but Mr Wilson said these sometimes went unheeded.

“I’m annoyed that somebody can do something like that and not own up to the fact,” he said.

“It has definitely got worse. There are more people got pets now than ever before. In fact I am stood here and somebody has just walked right past the farm with a dog not on a lead.”