We're urging people to keep their dogs on leads after a dog attack resulted in the death of a sheep on the Malvern Hills.
Three separate sheep worrying incidents last week resulted in the death of one sheep that had to be put down after suffering severe injuries. Graziers witnessed all the incidents and were able to intervene on two occasions stopping the dogs from causing physical injury to the animals.
Sheep worrying, which includes chasing, is a criminal offence and dog owners could face a fine or in severe cases, see the destruction of their dog. Details of the incidents have been passed on to the police to investigate.
Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer, said "We're shocked that so many livestock worrying incidents have occurred over the last week. Each and every incident is distressing for the livestock and the graziers who care for the animals."
"These incidents can be stopped by people putting their dogs on a lead at all times near livestock. We’d like to remind dog walkers that any dog, big or small, docile or aggressive, has the potential to chase or kill livestock so all dogs should be kept on a lead near grazing cattle and sheep."
Witnesses to livestock worrying incidents are encouraged to call the Trust on 01684 892002 to ensure veterinary treatment can be administered swiftly and also to the police on the 101 non-emergency number or online as a record of the offence.
To help dog owners plan their walks and know when to put their pet on a lead, Stockwatch is published every week with the locations of the grazing compartments on the Malvern Hills and Commons. This information can be found on the Trust's website, in the Malvern Gazette and on social media. A weekly Stockwatch e-newsletter is also available with subscribers receiving an email with the locations of the Trust's grazing compartments each week.
Beck added "Visitors to the Hills and Commons should also be aware that much of this landscape is registered Common Land which means that cattle and sheep can be found freely gazing outside the grazing compartments. Your pet should have excellent recall and if in doubt, please keep your dog on a lead at all times."
Livestock are an essential part of the management of the Malvern Hills and Commons. The cattle and sheep eat the bramble, scrub and young trees and this maintains the open grassland habitat. This keeps the landscape special and benefits the geology, archaeology, wildlife found here, as well as maintaining access and views for visitors.