A farmer in Marlow says her livelihood is on the line after a loose dog rampaged through her flock, killing several lambs in a “heartbreaking” mauling.

Tracy Betteridge, who runs Chiltern Lamb just outside Marlow, described the horror as a large husky bounded into her fields and killed five lambs as it picked them up “like rag dolls”.

Ms Betteridge – who was raised on a farm and now keeps over 200 sheep of her own – also lost a ewe the following day due to the mauling.

And the devastated farmer says owners need to keep their dogs under control or she would be forced to use lethal force to save her flock.

She said: “My friend was in the field when she saw the dog coming over the fence. She ran down the field shouting at it but it did not stop, like a thing possessed.

“It ran round the field picking up lambs, shaking them like rag dolls and broke their backs.

“It just shouldn’t happen at all. If it happened again I’d shoot it, it’s as simple as that.

“The saddest thing is to hear the ewes bleating and calling for their lambs. It is truly heartbreaking.

“Dog owners must take responsibility for their dogs - they can be killing machines.”

Ms Betteridge said the loss could cost over £1000 and potential future losses if other pregnant ewes miscarry due to the shock.

And with the dead lambs destined to be breeding ewes or sold as meat, she said her business is at real financial risk from dog attacks.

Hall Place Vets, where the dog was taken following the attack, stressed the importance of owners keeping their dogs on leads at all times near farming areas.

Vet Laura Bowen said: “Probably every years there are farms that lose sheep. It has never changed unfortunately.

“Loose dogs near sheep are never a good idea and they are even more vulnerable this time of year and even a near miss could cause them to abort.

“Farmers take this very seriously and quite rightly as most years they will have losses from dogs. You should appreciate the farm land and keep your dog under control.”

She added that it is not just large dogs that pose a risk, with smaller breeds able to kill lambs easily.

The husky was reunited with its owner after being traced by the vets using its microchip. 

Ms Betteridge said compensation has been paid for her losses, but believes the dog will not be put down.

Earlier this month, farmer Edward Mogford in Chalfont St Giles gave a stark warning to dog owners after two of his own sheep were mauled to death.