POLICE have launched an investigation after a pack of dogs killed a reindeer and a rabbit on a Swanmore farm.
Emma Thompson, owner of Emma’s Farm, said her reindeer Comet died and told how she had to protect another reindeer, Candy, as it was being attacked by a dog from the pack.
In an emotional post on Facebook she said: ‘I am writing this with great sadness and anger.
‘This evening poachers used our farm to escape the police smashing through gates leaving our horses and alpacas to run loose, these disgusting people had hunting dogs which went on to kill our reindeer Comet and attack Candy.
‘They have killed our rabbit too, we have now been left with dangerous dogs on our farm, a 4x4 in our fields and completely unsecured fields.
‘We can not do any thing until the morning, and our beautiful Comet is dead.
The impact on our hearts is huge, these were our pets and loved so muchEmma Thompson’s post on Facebook
She added: ‘Candy was attacked while I was trying to get her to safety. I had to wrestle the dog off of her.
‘Unfortunately the impact on our hearts is huge, these were our pets and loved so much.’
The incident happened at about 11.30pm yesterday at the farm in Brickyard Road, which has been open around 14 years.
Emma Thompson’s mother Diane Easen, 64, who also works on the farm, said: ‘We realised there were poachers when we heard the dogs barking.
‘There were five dogs. We had to shut them in the barn overnight and the police collected them today.
‘It was really scary. I have dogs of my own but the two outdoor dogs were in their kennel luckily.
‘It was horrendous.
‘Comet was beautiful. He was a really lovely reindeer. You could not help but love him, he was very tame.
‘If he got out on his own, he would come straight back as soon as you called him.’
The farm had to cancel a wedding service with the reindeer planned for a customer.
She added: ‘We’ve had to cancel the wedding. Comet and Candy were to go to the church with a sleigh – it was actually going to be a surprise.
‘She is getting married this afternoon. It’s really disappointing.
‘The support from visitors and friends has been lovely though.
‘I have had lots of people phoning up to offer their help.
‘We are lucky enough that we will be alright, but it is nice to know there are people offering their help.’
Hampshire police revealed a vehicle linked to poaching was seized following the incident.
A green Jeep Cherokee, with the registration M759HPA, was found by officers.
PC Jonathan Radcliffe said: ‘This vehicle is believed to have been involved in other poaching or criminal damage incidents across Hampshire.’
The force says it is looking into reports of criminal damage.
Five dogs found loose on the land were seized.
No arrests have been made, PC Radcliffe said.
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 and quote 44150422868.