DOG owners are being urged to keep their pets on leads after two lambs were killed and ten seriously injured in an attack.

Police issued the advice following the incident involving a brown speckled lurcher at Woodland House Farm, Bishop Auckland, on Tuesday.

Two lambs were killed and it is unclear whether the ten other injured animals will recover.

David Holliday, who has lived on the farm all of his life, said: “It is very distressing. We have tended to the injured lambs and given them penicillin.

"They sustained puncture wounds from teeth marks. We are not sure if one of the injured is going to survive.”

This is not the first time that an attack has happened on the farm.

Last year, seven lambs were killed.

Speaking of the incident, Mr Holliday said: “It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. They were ripped to shreds. You spend your time looking after them, up all night, and then this happens.”

Livestock worrying is a criminal offence under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 and does not require an animal to be injured.

The penalty for livestock worrying can be six months' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £1,000.

PC Sarah Thompson, of Durham Police, said: “We would urge dog owners to keep their pets on leads when they are near any livestock, no matter how much you trust them.

"Dogs who may ordinarily be calm can become distracted and behave differently when in a rural environment where their sense of smell and chase instinct are stimulated.

"We want everyone to enjoy the great outdoors but farmers should not suffer the consequences of irresponsible dog owners.

"Please remember that the countryside is a farmers’ workplace which requires respect.

"It is an offence to allow your dog to worry livestock and landowners have legal rights, under certain conditions, to shoot the dog if they feel their livestock is in danger.

"Anyone identified letting their dog off the lead resulting in an attack or worrying incident will be dealt with by police.”

Farmers are encouraged to report every incident via 101 or call 999 if a crime is in progress.

If members of the public have any information or concerns in regards to dogs not under control near livestock, they too should contact police.

Anyone with information can also contact Crimestoppers on 0800-555111 if they wish to remain anonymous.