A YOUNG Dursley farmer just starting his own business has been left devastated by a dog attack which killed eight of his animals.

Richard Howes, 24, lost seven sheep, six of them pregnant ewes, and a cow in the vicious attack in Woodmancote.

Police said they believe the dogs involved were a collie and a Jack Russell being walked by their owner along a bridlepath that runs through the area from Uley Road.

The cost for Mr Howes is considerable, as he would hope to have the sheep for up to four years, giving birth to three or four lambs each.

In addition, the Friesian steer, when fully grown, would have fetched between £900 and £1,000 at current market prices.

Instead he must now dispose of the animals at a cost of £30 each for the sheep and £50 for the cow.

"I’m gutted. I only started two years ago. At the moment all my money goes back into my stock, so to get the call saying your animals have been killed is quite horrible.

"It takes 18 months to get them to that stage (the ewes), I’ve just started so I’m struggling to make a return.

The animals were seriously injured or killed outright in the incident last Wednesday, either by the two dogs or from the fencing they tried to push through in a bid to escape.

Mr Howes, from Bowcott Farm, had decided to make his own way by renting land from his father, Stuart, two years ago.

"The dogs weren’t insured so I have to either go to court or get it back on my insurance. Either way it is going to cost me," he said.

"It’s not fair as I am the one who has had my animals killed."

Following the incident, PC Jon Palfrey, rural and environmental crime officer for Gloucestershire police, said: "Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pet under control and these terrible incidents should act as a stark reminder as to why there is legislation in place outlining that dog owners must keep their animal under close control.

"We would hate for any animal to be injured, or worse killed, when it could be so easily avoided."

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact Gloucestershire police on 101, quoting incident number 167 of September 26.