AN unknown hero is being praised for risking his life to rescue a sheep which had been chased into the River Wharfe by an out-of-control dog.

Pictures of the dramatic rescue were taken at Linton Falls, near Grassington, in the Yorkshire Dales, on Saturday, December 3.

Leslie Flower who was walking over the bridge at the time and managed to get the photographs said: "We noticed a dog which had escaped from its owner, chasing a sheep along the river bank. The sheep eventually ran into the river with the dog barking and biting it and being so scared it ran towards the fast flowing part of the river with the dog also following it.

"The rapids immediately took both of them down the river but the sheep was struggling because of its wool being soaked so it couldn’t swim. The dog got to the side and ran onto the rocks but the sheep was turned upside down because of the weight of its sodden wool. It’s head was under water and it was drowning.

"A chap on the bank (not the owner of the dog) had seen this happening and ran into the water to save the sheep. He braved the fast flowing river, wading across the freezing cold water and at one point fell down which could have been disastrous. He eventually reached the distressed sheep which was very close to drowning. He turned the sheep over so it could breathe and eventually managed to drag it over to the bank where it started to recover.

"This chap risked his life to save the sheep and at no point did he think of his own safety. He was so brave and deserves to be recognised for his brave achievement."

Mr Flower, from North Wales and who was staying in the district for a few days, added that the dog had a lead on but had slipped it and a youngish person was chasing it. He said the dog was biting the sheep and had it by the ear at one point.

He said he really hoped after all that effort by the passerby that the sheep survived, knowing a sheep can die from shock and abort their lambs after being chased.

He said he hoped the farmer would get in touch to let him know and that the incident would remind people to keep their dogs on a lead and under control by an adult who they can't slip away from.