AN ISLE of Wight farmer, who found more than 20 of his sheep dead following a suspected dog attack, told the County Press the scene looked like 'armageddon.'

Farmer Angus Baird, who discovered his dead animals on Wednesday morning, near the cycle track between Merstone and Horringford, said it was the worst attack he had ever seen.

"It was like armageddon. I've never seen that many animals killed in one attack before. It's the worst one on the Island I know of," he said.

It is believed the sheep were attacked by a dog, although it is not known if the dog was running loose or being walked in the area.

Angus said dog attacks were becoming more and more of a problem for Isle of Wight farmers.

The sheep — 22 breeding ewes and one lamb — had not been savaged. Instead, most died of a heart attack due to the stress.

"A dog doesn't have to rip a sheep's leg off to kill it. These sheep were hardly touched," said Angus, 48, who has been farming his whole life and has around 1,400 breeding ewes on land at Godshill, Merstone and Whitwell.

"One or two had been nipped, one had a broken leg, probably from being chased. We found one in the reservoir. But it's the stress that kills them.

"It stresses them out so much to have a strange dog chasing them. They died from heart attacks.

"It looked like they had just sat down and died."

Post mortems were carried out on some of the animals at Newport vet Green, Roberts and Butler — to make sure they had not died of something else, such as a disease — but it was confirmed they had died of heart failure.

The death toll has since risen to 29 animals, as more have died from heart failure, and that number is expected to rise further in the coming days.

A photo of the dead animals was shared on Facebook by one of Angus' farm workers, but has since been removed.

Angus said: "We posted the picture because we thought someone might have seen something, but it caused a lot of grief so we decided to take it down."

Police have launched an investigation into the attack, which happened sometime between 7pm on Tuesday (September 4) and 9am on Wednesday (September 5).

"We were called to a report of dead animals — 22 ewes and one lamb — at a farm in Arreton following a possible animal attack. Enquiries are ongoing," said a spokesperson.

Anyone with information about the attack can call police on 101, quoting the reference 44180335965.