A devastated animal lover is appealing for help to find a dog which savagely mauled his seven pet wallabies to death in his West Kingsdown back garden.

Donald Rayfield, 72, of Tinkerpot Lane, made the heartbreaking discovery when he went out to feed the pets.

He found the five adult wallabies - Cécile, Sasha, Vasia, Genny and Nicolas - and two joeys, all dead.

The dog, possibly a Japanese Akita type according to passing horse riders, scaled the six-foot fence which protected the wallabies and managed to escape without damaging it.

Mr Rayfield told News Shopper: "Their bodies were still warm and one had been partially eaten so I estimate it happened at around 5am.

"It was such a horrible death and such a waste, they were lovely animals and brought us much pleasure.

"The dog managed to scale the fence somehow.

"We have contacted the dog warden but she is unable to act unless we have the identity of the dog owner and the dog responsible.

"I have been asking neighbours if anyone knows anything and some horse riders said they saw a Japanese Akita and a Bullmastif prowling around that morning.

"Out of control dogs are a big problem in this area, there are some breeds of dog which should not be kept as pets."

A vet confirmed to Mr Rayfield the tracks left in the garden were those of a dog, not a fox, and that the wallabies suffered injuries consistent with a dog attack.

Mr Rayfield and his wife, Anna, have kept wallabies for seven years and installed the six-foot fence after a fox managed to enter the pen through a rabbit burrow and killed one.

The couple's love for the Australian animals grew when they brought one back to the UK in 1968 after Mr Rayfield spent three years in Brisbane as a lecturer.

Mr Rayfield says more needs to be done to control dogs in the village adding "I am very wary of going walking in the country now".

He added: "If a dog can do this to a wallaby imagine what it could do to a sheep or a human being.

"I have always thought dog owners should have to take out some kind of insurance and the more dangerous the animal the higher the premium."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Kent Police were called at 9.29am on March 21 to reports a number of wallabies had been found dead in an enclosure in Tinkerpot Lane, West Kingsdown.

"An officer has visited the owner of the animals and given him advice. No further action is being taken."