A farmer was left devastated when she returned home to find a dozen rare breed sheep and a tame deer mauled to death.
Lesley Frost-Schenk was visiting her ill grandmother in hospital when her prized flock of Castlemilk Moorits and a tame deer were killed in the bloody attack.
The rare sheep breeder and project officer at Raigmore Hospital, found her ram, Rocky and was cradling him when she noticed the others had been massacred.
The sheep, valued at more than £12,000, are thought to have been mauled by a dangerous dog.
Speaking of the devastation she found after returning from Colchester, Essex, Lesley said: “Before I left on Friday night I overfilled all the feeders and checked every one.
“I got back at about 5.45 on Monday, so the attack took place sometime between. It was very upsetting.
“The dog took my ram, Rocky, who was in the top field.
“At first I didn’t realise there had been more than him harmed but then I looked and saw a massacre in the lower field.
“Altogether I had 28 of the rare breeds. Most of them were expecting, which makes it even worse as there are only 1,500 or so of the Castlemilk Morrits left.”
Police initially thought a stray dog may have been responsible, but investigations revealed the animal responsible may have been accompanied by an owner.
A tearful Lesley said: “Last year’s lambs were thrown under a tree and so was the deer, in an unnatural way.
“The two lambs were on top of one another as though someone was trying to hide them.”
Neighbour Alice Cuthbertson said it was the third attack on local farms since March.
Police said the sheep had sustained injuries consistent with being attacked by a dog or dogs.
They were kept in a field next to the River Carron, close to a path regularly used by dog walkers.
Sergeant Charlotte Fisher said: “Incidents like this cause an unnecessary financial impact on farmers as well as an emotional one.
“nobody wants to have to deal with the aftermath of an attack like this.
“I would remind dog owners that allowing their pet to attack or chase livestock is an offence.”
Ian Wilson, regional manager for the Highlands at NFU Scotland, said: “There seems to be an ever-increasing trend of sheep worrying.
“Sometimes we are dealing with latch-key-dogs where they are allowed out to run wild.
“In a case where so many animals were killed, you would expect the owner to find their dog or dogs covered in blood.
“Owners must do more to keep their pets under control, particularly near livestock.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.