Manhunt underway after second sheep slaughter

July 10, 2017

A manhunt has been launched to find the perpetrator(s) behind the slaughter of a number of sheep in two separate attacks near Newry.

Both incidents, which occurred just days apart in fields on the Temple Hill Road, Ballyholland, have shocked the community and left farmers fearful for the safety of their livestock.

On Wednesday morning July 4th, a concerned neighbour alerted farmer Ruairi McCartney who, when arriving at his field, said he was “completely devastated” by what he found.  Several animals had been viciously attacked, their throats cut and ears sliced off.  Three sheep has suffered stab wounds while a further three had injuries so severe, they had to be humanely put down by a vet.  Four more animals suffered what appeared to be large stab wounds.

Describing the episode, Mr McCartney said: “It was just shocking. At first I thought it might have been a dog attack, but when I saw it, some of the sheep had their ears sliced off the whole way down, while others had just been cut.”

He said that there were up to 11 sheep in the field overnight.

“We found three of them dead, and then another three had to be put down when the vet arrived,” he added.

Mr McCartney says he has no idea why his flock was targeted.  “There are no grudges held around here, so I don’t understand who would have done this,” he said.

Enquiries into the brutal act were continuing when, on Friday evening July 7th three more sheep were discovered slain in a similar attack a short distance away.  The dead animals had their throats slashed and ears removed.  The owner of the sheep, Gerald Travers, expressed disbelief at the repeat attack and claims at least three people would have been needed to corner the animals and carry out such a horrifying act in an open field.

Referring to the first attack just days earlier, he said: “I knew it had happened up the road a bit, I didn’t really expect it to happen again.  Some sick mind has just kept going.”

Revealing that local farmers are worried about their own livestock, he said neighbours are organizing a ‘Farmers’ Watch’ in an attempt to catch those responsible.

Local SDLP councillor Declan McAteer said there is growing concern for the safety of livestock in the Ballyholland area after the two attacks and he has called for local people to be vigilant.

Police, meanwhile, are investigating both incidents and carrying out house-to-house inquiries in the area.  They have appealed for witnesses or anyone who may have information relating to the brutal attacks, to contact officers in Newry on 101 quoting reference number 1246 of 07/07/17.