A COMMUNITY has been left traumatised after a herd of cows was shot dead in front of onlookers - including children.

More than 30 Friesian cows were killed amid fears for their welfare in a field bordering Chirk Community Hospital, much to the shock of nearby residents.

Neighbours said some children ran home crying following the shooting on Friday.

Resident Joanne Jones said she was “absolutely disgusted.”

“No-one warned us about what was happening,” she said.

A spokesman for North Wales Police said staff at the hospital had to close the curtains on some of the wards to block the distressing sight.

During the early hours of the same morning the animals had escaped and were wandering in people’s gardens.

One resident, who woke just after 1am to find some of the cows on her property, said: “I can’t believe all the animals had to be shot. It’s appalling what’s happened.

“It took eight police officers and local residents an hour to round up the animals from Rhosywaun and Holyhead Road near the Co-op store.

“They were successfully herded into a field by the hospital and we thought that was the end of it but later we saw them being inspected by environmental health and animal welfare officers.

“All I can think is they must have found something wrong with their health because before long we could hear the shots ringing out across the village.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “Some of my friends who live on the estate near the field where the cows were shot were quite upset afterwards. Some of them have young children who were out playing at the time and they found it very distressing.

"I understand the cows had to be dealt with, but it's a shame it had to happen so close to a housing estate and in full view of the hospital.”

According to North Wales Police, the cows were initially reported loose at 1.20am.

A spokesman said: “We received a series of calls from 1.20am onwards reporting sightings on Charles Street but according to our reports the animals had been rounded up by 1.40am and herded into a field near Chirk Hospital by 2.15am. They were all off the road by 3.20am.”

Police say the decision to slaughter the animals was led by Wrexham Council.

The police spokesman added: “All the animals had to be humanely slaughtered on Friday evening. There were discussions between the council, the Welsh Assembly Government and the animal welfare agency and it was decided the animals would have to be put down on welfare grounds.

“Arrangements were then made to remove the animals the following morning.”

A spokesman for Wrexham Council said on Friday: "Officers were called to the Chirk area and worked with the police, animal health and welfare authorities to try to resolve the issue."

Two lorries arrived on Saturday to take away the carcasses for incineration.