The owner of a dog that broke free of its lead had to look on distraught as a farmer shot it for attacking his livestock.
The incident happened in Cheshire on Sunday and has divided the opinions of people online, some of whom thought the farmer had "little choice," while others pointed out the irony of the sheep then perhaps heading off for slaughter regardless of the incident.
One person even offered to buy the farmer a pint, saying: "Well done Mr Farmer. I'll buy you a pint! Pity we can't do the same to the owners!" as seen on Cheshire Live.
According to police, the dog was with its owner in a field when it got free. The dog ran over to some sheep and attacked one of the animals, leaving it with bite marks to its nose and under its chin.
The owner is said to have tried to recall the dog, but it wouldn't return. The farmer arrived on the scene and, according to Cheshire Police's Rural Crime Team, also tried to recall the dog.
The farmer was "left with no other option" than to shoot the family pet.
Reacting online, one person said: "99.999% of farmers have no wish or any desire to shoot a dog. When it becomes the only course of action to stop an attack I would back them 100% as a dog owner.
"If a dog owner cannot control the animal that they are responsible for and object to this, they also deserve a justifiable bloody nose."
But another person disagreed, writing: "And then the sheep were taken off for slaughter and served with mint sauce and gravy. Yummy yum yum."
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However, a third person reasoned: "Very sad and the farmer did try to recall the dog but once it was attacking the sheep he had little choice. Many farmers would have just shot it. How awful for everyone involved."
In a post of Facebook, Sgt Simpson described the incident, which happened near Disley. He said it had been "horrific".
He said: "Numerous attempts were made by the owner to recall the dog, and the farmer who arrived on the scene, before they were left with no other option. The action taken was witnessed by everyone present and upsetting for all involved.
"No-one wants to shoot a family pet, but it's clear in law that someone protecting their livestock has this option available to them."
Sgt Simpson implored dog owners to ask themselves if they would be able to control their dog if it got off its lead, adding: "Any dog under your control should be suitably trained before opting to rely on a lead when near livestock."
He added that the "crime of worrying livestock is being dealt with by the attending officer and those involved".
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