Rescued pet lamb's brush with death after dog mauling on Cissbury Ring

A pet lamb which was rescued as a baby and raised by humans almost lost its life after being mauled by dogs on Cissbury Ring.

Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 4:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 4:35 pm
Left to right: Etta Wyatt, Keith Manning, and Heidi Blannin with Boris the sheep. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Boris the sheep had his legs and neck bitten after three dogs were let off their leashes and found their way onto the 500-acre Cissbury Estate on the morning of Monday, October 15.

This is the latest in a series of dog worrying incidents on Cissbury Ring. A pregnant ewe was killed earlier this year, just weeks after another attack.

Etta Wyatt, the estate landowner, said: "I was completely shattered by it. He was in shock, and normally he is so calm.

Left to right: Etta Wyatt, Keith Manning, and Heidi Blannin with Boris the sheep. Picture: Kate Shemilt

"I felt awful; I thought Boris might die. I was so cross because they came across our land and we have fences all around with signs saying don't let dogs off their leads."

At 9.30am on the day it happened, the 55-year-old said she heard 'squealing' and 'high pitched noises' which sounded like wolves hunting.

She ran up to one of their fields, and found Boris, who is seven months old, covered in blood and cowering in a trough, cornered by two of the dogs. She ran them off, and the third when it arrived afterwards.

The incident has been reported to Sussex Police.

One of the wounds suffered by Boris

Etta described his wounds as 'pretty horrific' and added: "If his legs had been bitten one more time, they would have come off."

After calling the vet, the family and staff on the estate took it in turns to look after Boris, who could not walk for days after the ordeal, but is now on the mend.

Etta said: "I kept coming down in the night to check he wasn't dead. I had lots of sleepless nights."

For Keith Manning, a retired shepherd who lives on the estate, it was the second time he had helped save the sheep's life.

A younger Boris in his nappy at the care home Heidi works at

He found Boris abandoned on the estate when he was less than 24 hours old. He had severe hypothermia, with his 'tongue poking out and barely breathing', he said.

He fed him colostrum - the first milk of the mother after giving birth - and put him in warm water for two hours to revive him, drying him off afterwards with a hairdryer and keeping him indoors for two weeks before moving him into his garden. When he got too big, he moved him into the field near Etta's home, where the attack happened.

As he has been raised by humans, Boris - a black Welsh mountain and Southdown crossbreed - is 'more like a dog than a sheep', Keith said, and has been adopted by the family and staff on the estate as a pet.

He said: "It is important for dog owners to remember all dogs are descended from wolves and the hunting and killing instinct is in their DNA."

Heidi Blannin, 36, is a healthcare assistant who looked after Keith's wife and became good friends with everyone on the estate - particularly Boris.

She takes him into the care home she works in and said he brings a lot of joy to residents - and a few laughs, as she puts him in a nappy.

She said: "We have a lady who doesn't remember having a cup of tea, but you say Boris and she remembers exactly who he was."

Sussex Police has been approached for more details.