Police officers say a farmer shot and killed a dog after it was spotted worrying sheep in his field.
The Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team took to social media to reveal they were called to an incident in Sandbach where a dog was killed in a field.
Following concerns on local sites, officers revealed witnesses told them the dog was allegedly worrying livestock for ’10 to 20 minutes’ before it was gunned down.
They now say they will be investigating comments from social media that were aimed at the farmer.
And a warning has been issued to dog walkers to make sure their animals aren’t causing issues to livestock.
A Cheshire Police spokesman said: “Sadly in the Sandbach area we’ve seen the ultimate price paid by a dog when it was found worrying livestock in a field.
“Farmers have a legal defence to shoot dogs that are worrying their livestock and that is what happened in this case. The dog was unattended for 10 – 20 minutes according to various witnesses. Anytime unattended is simply not acceptable.
“The incident appeared on social media and we noted that a cropped photo has been used in a post that was going around. As with any incident, when photos appear to be altered or missing out part of the subject matter, it immediately rings alarm bells.
“What concerns me even more was the verbal abuse I’ve seen online, the threats and the complete lack of understanding by many as to what the law states. A lot of assumptions made and comments on a photo that doesn’t show the full story. Fortunately those original posts were taken down and many a comment made is being reviewed for investigation.
“No farmer likes the prospect of shooting a dog let alone actually doing it. Many are dog owners themselves, but it’s written into law that they can protect their livestock in the manner we’ve seen take place, with the legal defence they have available to them.”
Officers say a sheep ran into water following the incident and was rescued by the farmer.
They have now recorded a crime of worrying livestock following the incident but no action will be taken against the dog’s owner.
Dog owners are now being warned to take care of their dogs and to make sure they are not unattended when running around near livestock.