Saturday, 18 November 2017

Woman horrified after savage attack on pregnant ewe

A WOMAN says she is horrified after one of her rare breed pregnant ewes was killed.

A WOMAN says she is horrified after one of her rare breed pregnant ewes was killed.

Tracy Betteridge found Coco, a Welsh Badger Face who was five weeks away from giving birth to twins, bleeding to death in a field in Fawley.

She says the animal’s injuries were so severe that she can’t be sure whether it was attacked by a dog or a person.

Miss Betteridge, 40, said: “If you live in a city with a bit of a drug problem you almost expect it but you don’t expect your sheep in a village in the backwaters of Henley-on-Thames to be murdered.

“I don’t want to scaremonger but how does this sort of thing happen? I can’t believe that anyone would do this to a harmless animal.” Coco, which was one of 30 rare breed ewes that are in lamb, was found shortly before noon on Wednesday last week.

Miss Betteridge, a landscaper gardener who lives in Nuffield, said: “I couldn’t see her so I walked further down the field to find her flat out on her side.

“Her eyeball had exploded and she was in a severe state of shock. Her tongue had been lacerated and there was a big chunk of skin removed from under her tail. Her face was swollen like there was a tennis ball on the side of her muzzle. She was basically bleeding to death. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my life.”

Miss Betteridge phoned a vet and was told to move the ewe into a warm, dry environment which she did with the help of Nicholas and Wendy Sargent, who own a neighbouring field, and Bridget Fraser, who keeps black Welsh mountain sheep in Aston. She said: “I wondered whether it would be kinder to put her down immediately because her injuries were so horrific but I had to give it a go.

“When she survived the first 24 hours I sighed with relief. I went to the vets to fetch some stuff prepared for her and I’d just got back to check on her again when she took her last breath.”

Miss Betteridgesaid: “The most upsetting thing is I only have a few ewes so you get to know them so much better. Maybe I am just a soppy tart but I know each and every one of them.

“She was called Coco because she looked a bit like a Coco Pop, sort of fat and brown and woolly. She was a pet sheep to all intents and purposes. She was one of those that would always come and say ‘hi’.”

The day before the attack Miss Betteridge found that wires connecting the field’s electric fence had been disconnected.

“I don’t know how that happened but I just put it back together,” she said. “I’ve had sheep in there for two years and I’ve never had trouble so I didn’t really give it a second thought.”

The other sheep were moved to a different field which overlooks several houses on Friday on the advice of the police. Crimewatch signs have been erected around the village.

The original field is not accessible by footpaths, there is no public access and it can’t be seen from the road.

Miss Betteridge said: “Coco had been provoked by someone or something or a combination. Was it a dog? Was it a somebody with a dog?

“I’d love to know why they picked on Coco — was it because she’s very friendly and an easy victim? I’d quite like to do to them what they did to my sheep.

“If it was a dog there would have been bites and normally there are several sheep assaulted. This was one sheep and the whole right hand side was completely damaged.

“It looked like some sort of rod had been pushed four or five inches up her cheek, pretty much up to the ear. My first thought was that she’d been shot because there was so much blood.”

She is concerned that some of other ewes could lose their lambs.

Miss Betteridge said: “The other sheep were all twitchy. They were all traumatised and during the first couple of days after it happened they were acting very differently as if they were scared.”

Anyone who with information should call police on 101 or Dogwatch on 07721 462672.

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