Sheep have been found on Dartmoor with their necks broken and their eyes gouged out in the third attack of its kind in 18 months. The three sheep were found on moorland at Pork Hill, near Tavistock. Their tongues had also been cut out. They had been arranged in a line when they were found on Monday.
In January last year seven sheep belonging to three local farmers were found arranged in the shape of a heptagon near Sampford Spiney, West Dartmoor. They had all been strangled.
In October last year one of the same farmers found six of his sheep with their necks broken and their eyeballs removed.
Four of the dead animals had been laid out in a square, while the other two were discovered near stones apparently arranged to make a pagan symbol. The farmer believed occultists could have been to blame as the discovery came after a full moon on a Saturday night in October.
In the latest attack, the sheep, which belonged to two local farmers, had not been at Pork Hill the previous evening and it is believed the attack happened after 6pm on June 25 or early the following morning, fuelling suspicions that it took place at the time of a new moon, which was around 4am.
Police in Tavistock and the RSPCA have launched an investigation and are appealing for information. RSPCA inspector Becky Wadey believes the brutal act must have been carried out by at least two people and is urging anyone with information to come forward.
“These sheep must have been rounded up on the open moor by whoever carried out this barbaric attack,” she said. “That would have required a number of people and potentially been quite a spectacle.
“The bodies were found on open, exposed ground very close to the road, so somebody must have seen something, even if they did not realise at the time that it was suspicious.”
She added: “It is impossible to guess what the motivation for this brutal attack could be, so until evidence comes to light we will not rule out any lines of enquiry.”
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact police or the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty and information line on 08705 555 999 and leave a message for Inspector Wadey.