The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after a sick sheep was found dumped in a field in Phillipston, Linlithgow. Warning - you may find a photo in this report distressing.
A member of the public contacted us after he spotted a man dragging the ewe from a silver metallic pick-up vehicle and throwing her into a wooded area off Main Street on Wednesday morning (20 June).
The sheep, estimated to be around two years old, was in extremely poor condition and Scottish SPCA inspector Jenni Surgeon had to make the decision to end her suffering straight away.
Inspector Surgeon said, "When I arrived the ewe was in a very bad way. She was extremely distressed, unable to stand and very thin.
"A post-mortem has revealed she was suffering from chronic liver fluke, a condition common in sheep and cattle which can be controlled with good management and veterinary advice.
"This is a fairly remote area, which is why the gentleman who witnessed this incident was startled when he heard a car door being shut.
"He then saw a man dragging the sheep over to a wooded area near a stream.
"It's likely the person who was spotted doing this lives locally as he had driven right through the back of the field to reach the woods, implying he knows the area well.
"This ewe should have received veterinary treatment for her liver fluke some time ago and was clearly suffering when she was cruelly abandoned.
"She had holes in her ears where her tags had been, although these had been removed before she was dumped.
"If the person who abandoned this poor ewe owns other livestock we would have serious concerns for their welfare and we are very keen to identify the person responsible."
Causing unnecessary suffering and abandoning an animal are criminal offences and anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.
Anyone with information relating to this abandonment is being urged to contact our Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.