A LAMB died a 'horrific' death after being savaged by an out of control dog.

The animal appears to have been chased through a field and driven into an electric fence before being viciously attacked.

The incident on land near Broadwindsor - which has been reported to the police - has prompted farmer Rachel Hayball to warn residents to keep their dogs on leads when out walking near animals in the countryside.

She suspects this is the reason the dog attacked her 10-month-old lamb.

Mrs Hayball has a flock of sheep which graze between Broadwindsor and Pilsdon Pen. The attack happened on Wednesday, March 10.

She said: "I was absolutely gutted. It was such a lovely young lamb. We only have a small flock so we know the characters of our sheep pretty well. Each life is important to us and we want to protect them as much as possible.

"It's a pretty horrific way to die and it must have been incredibly distressing for the sheep.

"It’s horrible seeing your animal like that. We farm for a reason and there is obviously a financial impact but the money lost is nothing compared to what happened to that sheep and how its life ended."

A dog owner herself, Mrs Hayball believes that people are becoming 'less responsible' which has led to an increase in dog attacks in recent years.

She added: "People put a lot of trust in their dogs and seem to forget that they are predators. Dog owners needs to remember that 'Fluffy' at the end of their lead is potentially a killer - they need to take responsibility and keep their dogs on leads when around livestock."

PC Claire Dinsdale from Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team says: “It is a criminal offence for a dog to be off a lead or not otherwise under close control in a field of sheep, as well as for the dog to chase or attack livestock.

"Many of the dog owners involved in such investigations have stated that their dog ‘hadn’t done anything like it before’. Most dogs have a prey drive and some may not give any pre warning.

"The best thing responsible dog owners can do is to avoid the situation happening in the first place. Ideally we would ask dog owners to avoid walking right next to fields of livestock as plenty of incidents have occurred where a dog is off the lead and then goes under a fence or a gate.

"Secondly the dog needs to be on a lead in these locations, ideally with a harness to avoid damage to the dog’s throat from collar strain around its neck and the avoidance of the collar being pulled off which is one of the reasons why attacks have happened. Never assume your dog will not be interested."

She added: "We have had several incidents a week of these attacks - this is completely unacceptable. We have seen horrific injuries to ewes as well as lambs and other livestock. Police can make applications for a Dog Control Order or for repeat cases, they could apply for the dog to be euthanised."

The farming community are urged to report these crimes to the police on 999 if in progress, or by calling 101 if there is evidence at the scene. For all other reports, email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or online at dorset.police.uk/do-it-online.