A distraught sheep owner is appealing for other livestock owners to be on their guard after almost all her beloved Dorset horns flock were savaged by a mystery attacker.
Maria Penn, who farms a smallholding at her home in Coalpit Lane, Stoke St Michael, returned home just after 6pm on Tuesday night to be confronted by the grizzly scene.
Out of her 21-strong flock, eight had died or had to be put down later by the vet, 13 were wounded and four had escaped.
Mrs Penn is appealing for farmers and livestock owners in the area to be on their guard – she fears the attack was the work of one savage dog which could strike again.
She said: "It must have been a big dog with a large mouth to have done such damage."
Mrs Penn said the sheep were fine when her son left the house at 5pm on Tuesday night – but when she returned home at 6.20pm she was greeted by a scene of utter carnage.
She said: "The vet from Garstons in Frome came out at once and was here until 3am.
"She was absolutely wonderful but she was obviously terribly upset too about what she had to deal with.
"Whatever dog did this must have returned home absolutely covered in blood."
Georgina Doel, from Garston Veterinary Group, who attended the scene, said the injuries the sheep had been subject to were brutal.
She said: "I think the culprit is a large dog, due to the size and scale of the puncture wounds.
"I had to put four to sleep and two died, but of the herd of about 20, there were only four or five that had no injuries at all.
"I have seen this sort of incident before and I would urge dog owners to keep their animals on a lead and keep to the footpaths.
"If anyone witnesses anything like this they should also report it straightaway."
Mrs Penn is urging anyone with information to call the police on the non-emergency number 101.