GRAPHIC CONTENT: Barbaric attacks carried out on sheep in the Sperrins, are just too disturbing for ordinary people to comprehend, a farmer has said.
Gerald McLaughlin and his family have been left traumatised by the animal mutilations - in which the tongues have been cut or ripped out of the mouths of their new born lambs.
And what is more, the attacks, they say, have been happening on a regular basis since 1992, with the loss of hundreds of sheep.
“It is absolutely horrific, there are simply no words to describe it,” said Gerald who has a 300-strong flock of sheep, just outside Feeny.
However, questions remain over who is reponsible for the mutilations - is it a twisted individual, or possibly crows, who are recorded as having targeted lambs and sheep in this way.
In a statement, the PSNI said they have received numerous reports since 2000 of sheep mutilations at a farm in the Glenshane Road area.
“Police and a number of other specialist agencies have carried out full and thorough investigations and have continuously found no evidence of any offences having been committed,” said a police spokesman.
“If anyone has a complaint about any police actions they should contact the office of the Police Ombudsman.”
But Gerald and his wife Bridget say there can be no doubt, that it is a person responsible for the hideous crimes.
“Since this all started, we have kept records and photographs. If it were wildlife that is responsible, why are other farmers not losing sheep like this.
These lambs are still alive after their tongues are cut out. We have to put them down
“You don’t have to be too smart to know, that a predator would kill a lamb.
“These lambs are still alive after their tongues are cut out. We have to put them down, they would either bleed to death, or else they simply wouldn’t be able to eat and survive.”
His wife Bridget adds: “It is someone who has got serious problems, there is something wrong with them.
“They must be getting some twisted kick out of this.”
But Gerald is adamant that the attacks are not the result of an on-going feud.
“We have no quarrels with anyone, there is no reason in the world why someone would do this to us.
“And who would even think of doing such a thing to a young lamb. You cannot imagine what is inside that person’s head.”
During this Spring’s lambing season, the McLaughlin’s say they have lost around 20 lambs to the attacks, and also two heavily pregnant sheep, which were carrying five lambs between them.
Despite efforts, which have included police surveillance with CCTV cameras, and private investigators, the family have never found any trace which would point towards the perpetrator.
Gerald added:“You see it often, these major operations against animal cruelty, and people are arrested.
“We have made hundreds of calls to police, the Department and to vets.
“How much more proof or evidence do they need. How many more animals will have to suffer and die like this, before these attacks are stopped?”