The RSPCA has launched an investigation after a Staffordshire family’s animals were attacked in a string of incidents.
The animal welfare charity is appealing to the public for information after a sheep was shot in the head and killed in one of the farm’s fields in Colton near Rugeley on Thursday (19 July).
RSPCA Inspector Natalie Perehovsky said: “The sheep owners went to tend to their flock early Thursday morning and found one of the rams dead in the field. He had seemingly been shot in the head.
“It’s not the first time their animals have been attacked and they’re now, understandably, very worried that they’re being targeted deliberately.”
The ram - called Shaun - was in a field with three other sheep who were not injured. All had been hand-reared by the family and were kept as pets.
His owner Trevor Street said: “Shaun was the most friendly sheep. Words can’t describe how angry I am that this has happened.
“He’d been shot in the head with a rifle. It has obviously been done by someone who knows what they are doing.”
Sadly, it’s not the first time the family’s animals have been targeted.
Around six weeks ago, one of their horses - called Faith - was hurt after being attacked with a whip. Trevor and his partner, Sharon Webley, found Faith covered in around 40 whip marks and cuts, and had to call a vet out.
“We’ve had lots of things happen over the past 18 months,” Mr Street added. “It started with silly things like gates being opened in paddocks and the chickens being let out of the coop.
“But now it’s becoming horrendous. It’s the animals I’m worried about.”
Items have also gone missing and property has been damaged. Rugs were stolen off the horses when they were out in the paddocks and someone got into the stables and barns to put dangerous items like rakes in with the animals. Fencing and buildings have also been damaged.
Another farmer, keeping sheep in a next-door field, has moved his flock after two had their ears cut off while out grazing.
Inspector Perehovsky said: “Shaun the sheep was effectively executed in the field, it’s extremely disturbing.
“I’d like to hear from anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area either early on Thursday morning or late on Wednesday, or anyone who may have heard a gunshot.
“Anyone with information that might help our investigation should get in touch with us by calling 0300 123 8018 and leaving me a message.”
Calls are treated in the strictest confidence. The police have also been notified.
To help the RSPCA continue investigating complaints of animal cruelty please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.