A PET owner had to shoot his own dog after it killed and injured nearly 40 sheep and lambs on the Ugbrooke estate outside Newton Abbot.

Farmer Mike Batting said the sad and sorry episode caused him losses running up to £4,000 – although the mental trauma was even greater.

He uncovered the carnage on Sunday morning in three fields on the 400 acres he farms just off the Ideford Dip.

Two ewes were killed by the runaway dog together with five lambs. A further 32 lambs were injured, some seriously and possibly fatally.

‘Some won’t be good enough for breeding or the meat trade. I’m not covered for compensation unless they die,’ he said after the bloody episode.

He revealed how he later came across a dog worrying more sheep – and asked someone with a rifle to shoot it.

But the person he asked recognised the dog and said he could not do it. The gunman then fetched the dog’s owner who sadly consented to shoot the dog himself.

Mr Batting said: ‘It was a very harsh lesson to learn about sheep worrying. He knew he had to do it.

‘If he had not the matter would have been taken further. Police have been informed. If the dog had been allowed to go it would have returned and killed again. It couldn’t continue.’

He revealed the two ewes, with two lambs each, had died of heart attacks trying to protect their young.

‘The biggest problem for me is there is no one to compensate me for the mental strain such incidents cause. There is a lot more to this than just losing animals,’ he said.

He urged all pet owners to keep their dogs under control in the countryside to prevent repeats of Sunday’s desperate slaughter.

It was the second dog attack in as many months. In January he lost two animals. The killer was never traced.