Faced with unexplained thefts and mutilations of sheep, elected officials call on breeders to be vigilant

Dozens of cases of sheep stolen or found butchered have been reported, mainly in the English Channel in recent weeks. Elected officials encourage breeders to file a complaint.

After the enigma, never solved, of mutilated horses, now place to that of butchered sheep? Several municipalities, mainly located in the Channel, have in any case reported to the gendarmerie in recent weeks several dozen cases of stolen or mutilated sheep, according to several local media. But the mystery surrounding these attacks remains unsolved for the time being.

“We recently found the viscera of sheep, which had been slaughtered in the fields, to steal their meat. In my herd, one of my animals had two legs broken, I had to have it euthanized”, denounced Stéphanie Maubé, breeder and mayor of Lessay, in the Manche, according to The Channel Press.

“Again this (Tuesday morning), six bags of sheep viscera were found in Montgardon (Manche)!”, Also protested the mayor of The Hague, in the Channel, Alain Leclère, during a public meeting of the Council of the West Coast Center Channel Community of Communes. The elected official warns breeders about this phenomenon and calls on them to “file a complaint with the gendarmerie” in the event of a new attack.

“I cried”

Since then, new cases have been reported and the phenomenon worries in the English Channel, but also beyond, where flights are also reported. On the night of May 22 to 23, a 28-year-old breeder from Poiseux, in the Nièvre, saw around fifty ewes and lambs disappear from her herd of four hundred animals. A major loss both financially and emotionally.

“I cried about it”, confides the young woman to the Journal du Center.

If for the moment this loss remains unexplained, the breeder is thinking of a theft. “With the gendarmes, we realized that the chain with padlock had been cut,” she says.

The most stolen animal in the world

How to explain this phenomenon? Concerning the sheep found butchered, some cases probably come from attacks by stray dogs, such as the one that occurred end of May in the town of Tournières, in Calvadosor even those which affected Finistère between the end of April and the beginning of May.

But these dog attacks may not explain everything. A gendarmerie officer warned the mayor of Lessay about an “upsurge in crimes around cases of sheep being killed and stolen”, reports Le Figaro. The elected representative of Lessay Stéphanie Maubé also recalls that sheep thefts are recurrent. It is “the most stolen animal in the world for a long time”, she underlines.

“Every year at this time, the thefts begin because the lambs are good to eat!”, she laments.

Faced with this phenomenon, some breeders want to react. In Cholet, in Maine-et-Loire, a breeder says he now sleeps on the ground near his animals to watch over his herd, after a theft in February. It also provides for the installation of video surveillance in the near future. But the system remains expensive and not all breeders consider installing it.

While waiting for the perpetrators of these misdeeds to be identified, the elected officials of Lessay encourage the inhabitants to remain vigilant and to report, for example, “unusual vehicles” present in the vicinity of a farm.

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