The public is being reminded to refrain from feeding any animal that is not their own whilst in the country.
The appeal comes after Dorset Police Rural Crime Team received a report from a farmer where unknown persons have fed sheep and goats in a field various fruit.
In a post on social media, a spokesperson for the team said: “This has sadly caused the death of a fit and strong 2-year-old ewe in her prime which had choked to death on a satsuma.”
“The death of this ewe has also affected the two young lambs which are now orphaned.”
The force is urging the public not to feed any livestock, including sheep, cows, horses, pigs and goats. “Animals are often on special diets to manage the animal’s health; this also includes the feeding of grass clipping and garden clippings from trees and shrubs which can ferment and kill animals that consume them.”
“Please also remember to clean up after your dog while walking in the countryside. Dog poo can contain Neospora Caninum which is a parasite found in dog faeces.”
When ingested by cows, the force added, it can cause them to abort or infect their calves and it can be fatal to sheep.
“We must also remind you that feeding kitchen waste to farm animals is illegal and this is in place to stop the spread of disease.” the post concluded.