A SHOCKING photo of a dead sheep tied to a post with a poster reading: ‘This is what dogs do to sheep’ has been circulating online.

The animal protest is located at Mill Field in Sturminster Newton.

A concerned resident who saw the photo said: “I feel very strongly about animals and I am anti-farmers who exploit innocent animals to produce and then be slaughtered.

“I think people eat too much meat and these poor selfless beings are exploited.

“The farmer should have had the electric fence on and him leaving the dead body tied to a post was totally uncalled for.”

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “We’re asking dog owners to be aware that there may be livestock or wild animals present and to keep their dog under control at all times.

“Whilst the vast majority of people take care as a matter of course, sadly accidents can happen and even the most docile and obedient dogs can get distracted and excited by grazing animals and wildlife.

“Dog owners should remember it is lawful for farmers in certain circumstances, to shoot a dog to protect livestock which would be distressing for everyone involved and owners could face a police prosecution if their dog is caught worrying livestock.

“Even if you think your dog is placid and friendly when faced with a field full of livestock, they can be unpredictable.

"It’s simply not worth taking the risk – keep your dog on a lead and away from livestock.

“Please consider your actions as a responsible dog owner when out and about enjoying the countryside.”