Twisted killer targeting Derry farmer's sheep by slicing their tongues out

NewsBy Steven Moore
Farmer Gerald McLoughlin
Farmer Gerald McLoughlin

These are the grisly pictures that show the heartbreaking cruelty done to hundreds of defenceless spring lambs by a twisted sheep killer.

They show how the twisted killer has brutally cut out the tongues of the newborn lambs and then left them to bleed to death in agony.

A distraught sheep farmer from Feeny, near Dungiven, Co. Derry, says he has been targeted by the deranged killer for over 20 years.


Farmer Gerald McLaughlin says he has lost 20 lambs and two pregnant ewes to the twisted killer this season.


And in total he says he has lost 592 sheep to date.

He says the sustained attacks have affected the mental health of his whole family, who have to deal with the distressed animals who are normally still alive and have to be put down after the attack.

“Whoever is doing this needs to be caught,” says the 59-year-old, whose family have been sheep farmers in Feeny for three generations.

“The most recent attacks were both on Good Friday when one was cut just after 6am and then another was done around lunchtime.

“Every year I lose between 20-25 lambs this way. It’s wrecked my family because we are sick of having to deal with the aftermath. It’s completely barbaric as the animal is still alive afterwards and has to be put down or else it will just bleed out.”

The lambing season is in full swing and Gerald says his 300 ewes produce around 450 lambs each season.

Gerald reported hundreds of attacks to the police, but so far nobody has ever been arrested. And Gerard says he’s furious with the PSNI for trying to say that birds are responsible.

“I’m surrounded by neighbours who have hundreds of sheep themselves and they have never had anything like this happen to them,” he says.

“If it was birds don’t you think they would have attacked their sheep as well? Are the police saying that there are birds with grudges out there who are only targeting my sheep? It’s total nonsense.”

One of lambs that was attacked by the tongue slasher

Gerald, who farms around 120 acres with his two sons, says the attacks started back in 1992 and he has suffered them every year since then.

“I’ll never forget the first one,” he says. “It was a ewe and it had blood pouring from its mouth and was clearly in distress. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it’s tongue had been hacked off.

“What kind of human being does that to a poor animal? It’s horrific.”

Gerald says the police have carried out detailed investigations, including CCTV surveillance, but have failed to apprehend whoever is responsible.

“The police have been out several times over the last 20 years, but they haven’t done anything to stop them,” says Gerald.

“They set up CCTV in one of my barns, but they still didn’t arrest anyone. 

“The farmers beside me can’t believe what is happening to us. I get on well with my neighbours and I have no quarrels with anyone. How many more poor animals have to suffer this way before something is done.”

Gerald says the USPCA carried out an investigation and concluded that animal cruelty was to blame.

He has also held meetings with officials from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Everyone is passing the buck, it’s a total disgrace,” he says. “The perpetrator needs to be put behind bars.

“It has caused great distress to my family and it has also cost us thousands of pounds. Those 20 lambs I have lost this year would fetch around £1,600 and when you tot that up for 20 years it’s a very large sum of money.”

The PSNI said in a statement: “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.”