A HORRIFYING attack on a sheep which left its face partially ripped off and the open wounds infested with maggots has led to renewed calls for dog owners to keep their pets on leads.

When Jonathan Benson discovered his sheep, which had been grazing at Elterwater Common, in this state, he found its ear had also been completely torn from its head.

The animal has been given antibiotics and Mr Benson, of Harry Place Farm, Great Langdale, thinks it will survive its ordeal, although it will never be able to graze up on the common again, where conditions are tougher.

And once again a dog attack in the national park has led to calls for pet owners to be ‘responsible’ and keep their four-legged friends on leads.

“Everyone gets a dog - they don’t realise what that dog can do,” said Mr Benson.

“It doesn’t matter how how well-trained your dog is, it has the potential to worry a sheep.

“If it does attack a sheep, speak to someone about it and let them know it’s been injured.

“Anyone who’s walking a dog in the Lake District needs to have a lead with them and needs to use it.

“I have roughly about 10 sheep per year which are attacked by dogs - which I find out about.”

The presence of maggots led Mr Benson to estimate the stricken animal had been attacked a number of days prior to him finding it last Thursday. He also believed it was a sustained assault.

“A dog has obviously been startled and it’s chased after it,” he said.

“If a dog had just bitten it once it wouldn’t have lost its ear or half its face.”

Mr Benson felt that the signs put up in the Lake District by organisations such as the national park authority were not ‘graphic’ enough.

He went on to express concerns about the rest of summer, with people flocking to certain parts of the national park in recent weeks.