A Mount Helen family is devastated after their sheep were attacked and left fighting for their lives for a third time in two years by vicious dogs.
Steven and Anne Belcher and their young children are traumatised after two unknown dogs attacked their small flock of sheep and lambs earlier this week.
The lambs escaped the ordeal unscathed but their mothers - survivors from the previous attacks - were not so lucky, with six sheep injured and three left in a critical condition. The sheep are all receiving veterinary care.
Each attack has occurred in the morning, believed to be by different pairs of dogs.
Mr Belcher intervened in the most recent attack when he caught the dogs mauling the family's pet sheep.
After a sleepless night he rose at first light to "be with the girls" in the paddock in case the dogs returned.
"There's not much a sheep can do against two bloody crazy dogs," he said.
"One's home and property should be a sanctuary, not a killing field."
Ms Belcher is distressed at the occurrence of another attack and is questioning whether or not her family should continue grazing the sheep on their nine acre property.
"It's just terrible that we cannot keep our girls safe on our own property," she said.
Each of the girls has their own personality and it just tears you up to see them go through this time and time again.Anne Belcher
The family lost seven of their sheep in the previous attacks and are urging owners to ensure their dogs are confined to their own properties.
Mr Belcher said a local farmer who visited the property on Tuesday evening to check on the state of the sheep remarked that dogs who attack livestock should not be allowed to live near rural or semi-rural properties, stating the carnage they cause is "maddening".
The dogs have not yet been located.
They are described as light brown and white kelpie dogs. Both are believed to have been wearing collars, with one of the dogs wearing a red collar.
The City of Ballarat confirmed it was investigating the matter in conjunction with neighbouring Moorabool Shire Council.
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Due to it being an ongoing investigation, the council declined to comment further.
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said it remained committed to responsible pet ownership and its ongoing responsibilities under the Domestic Animal Management Act.
There have been spates of dog attacks on sheep in the Ballarat region in recent years, including in Snake Valley and Musk Vale, near Daylesford. Last year a woman was ordered to pay hefty fines and fees after her three dogs killed 30 sheep at Mount Mercer.
Anybody with information is urged to contact the City of Ballarat 5320 5500 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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