ELEVEN SHEEP have been killed during an apparent dog attack on a flock at a farm in Staffordshire – and to help find the culprits, the local Police have enlisted Scottish DNA expertise.

The attack took place overnight between 6pm on Thursday February 6 and 7.40am on the morning of February 7, in a field off Long Lane, Essington,.

Police believe the sheep suffered injuries consistent with having been inflicted by a dog – and have taken DNA samples from the wounds of the sheep, to be sent to a specialist team in Scotland for analysis, understood to be based at Edinburgh University.

Chief Inspector Ash Farrington said: “Livestock are part of farmers’ livelihood and harm to them can be very upsetting and also have financial implications.

“Dog owners are reminded to be vigilant when walking their dog(s) near livestock as lambing season approaches, always make sure it's on a lead and under control. If using an extendable lead make sure you keep it short so the dog is by your side.

“A dog doesn't have to kill sheep, or even chase them, for its owner to be committing an offence. Letting a dog roam loose in an area where there are sheep can cause them stress and have health implications for their lambs.

"In some circumstances farmers and livestock owners are entitled to shoot dogs that are loose amongst their animals,” add CI Farrington.

Farmers who are a victim of sheep worrying are advised to try to preserve attacked livestock for forensic examination, as this can secure evidence to identify the dogs involved. If it is raining or wet, carcasses shouldbe covered with waterproof material to obtain the best evidence.

Taking pictures or videos of the attacked livestock or the whole scene, as well as eartag numbers, can also assist the Police.