Northern Ireland

Ballyholland farm: Sheep ears cut off in 'shocking' attack

Dead sheep which were attacked in field Image copyright Ruairi McCartney
Image caption Some of the sheep had their ears completely sliced off

A number of sheep have had their ears cut off in an attack in a field in County Down.

Eight sheep had their ears sliced while three others were stabbed in the throat on a farm at Temple Hill Road, Ballyholland, near Newry.

Three of the sheep had to be put down on Wednesday morning, due to their injuries.

Image copyright Mark Pearce
Image caption Ruairi McCartney with one of the sheep that was attacked at his father's farm

Ruairi McCartney, whose father runs the farm, said he was "completely devastated" when he heard the news.

"One of the neighbours who lives close to the field called my dad this morning," he told the BBC.

"It was just shocking. At first I thought it might have been a dog attack.

"But when I saw it, some of the sheep had their ears sliced off the whole way down, while others had just been cut."

Image copyright Ruairi McCartney
Image caption The son of the father who owns the sheep says the attack was "devastating"

It is believed the attack happened between 20:30 BST on Tuesday and 08:30 BST on Wednesday.

He said that there were up to 11 sheep in the field overnight.

Image copyright Mark Pearce
Image caption The ears of eight sheep were cut off in the attack

"We found three of them dead, and then another three had to be put down when the vet arrived," he said.

"There are no grudges held around here, so I don't understand who would have done this."

The police said they were appealing for information after a flock of sheep were "brutally killed and injured".

Image copyright Ruairi McCartney
Image caption Three of the sheep which were attacked had to be put down by a vet

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