Four sheep were killed and a number of others injured during a suspected dog attack.
Sam and John Vickers of Hillside Cottage in Sheraton, were left devastated after finding the dead and injured animals on Monday night.
The pair, who have about 60 sheep that are grazed on the nearby field, believe the carnage was caused by a dog attack.
Mrs Vickers said: “We lost two ewes outright during the attack and then another two had to be shot because their injuries were so severe, one of these was pregnant with twins.
“Another 12 suffered injuries, some of them are so bad my husband won’t even let me look at them.
“By law we could have killed the dogs as they were on our land, and they have been spotted before chasing our sheep in recent weeks, but we are animal lovers.”
The couple have contacted Durham Police over the alleged attack and yesterday they were having post mortems carried out on all of the dead animals to see if dog bites were responsible for their deaths.
Mrs Vickers said: “My husband saw the dogs in the field after the attack, but since he never saw them physically attacking the sheep, we’re paying for the postmortem examinations to prove that this is what’s happened. We want to educate people that dogs can do this.”
The Vickers will now have to shell out thousands of pounds to cover the damage which has been caused. The sheep were worth around £700, but there’s also vet’s bills, the cost of the post mortem and the cost to have the carcasses removed and destroyed.
Mrs Vickers said: “The one bit of good news is that one of ewes which was attacked gave birth to a healthy lamb on Tuesday night.”
A spokesman for Durham Police confirmed inquiries are ongoing.