A devastated farmer has made a desperate plea to walkers to keep their pets on leads around livestock after one of his flock was savaged by a dog.

Stuart Alderson, of Paddock Leach Farm, said the attack happened at around 9.30am on Sunday, with the ewe having been left so badly injured and distressed, euthanasia was the only option.

The attack on sheep is the latest to take place on Stuart's farm in Ainsworth.

He said: "On Sunday I was upset and now I am angry.

"The police have been informed and I am just waiting for them to get back to me.

"This time last year, sheep were attacked by a dog off its lead but they survived.

The Bolton News: Farmer Stuart Alderson with Dorothy and her three lambs.

"I did not witness this attack but a walker said a dog was chasing the sheep and went for this Ewe and bit her the nose.

"When I got to her, two legs were broken and she was very distressed.’

Stuart, with help, managed to get the sheep back to the farm and the vet was called, tragically her injuries were not survivable and she had to be euthanised.

"The vet said they are seeing more attacks like this and I know that dog attacks are happening around the country," said Stuart, "You think whether it is worth continuing."

Stuart has had the farm for 10 years and he says the majority of dog walkers understand the countryside code and its importance.

He told The Bolton News: "There are the five to ten per cent who say it is not necessary because their dogs will not chase sheep, I have to say that is a dog's instinct to do so.

"I ask if they had the dog on a lead on the main road and they said yes and the need to do the same here."

The ewe which was attacked had been sold so she could breed on another farm.

The Bolton News: Farmer Stuart Alderson on his farm

Stuart said: "There is the financial impact, but it is more than that, the upset and distress caused to the sheep."

Like any farmer, Stuart has the right to shoot dogs worrying sheep and there are notices on the farm to that effect.

He said: "Some tear down the notices because they don't like it so I have to replace them.

"I just want people to treat my sheep as they treat their dogs."