The Malvern Hills Trust is urging dog owners to put their dogs on a lead when walking near livestock on the Hills and Commons after receiving a shocking report from one of the Hills graziers.
The farmer, who grazes his livestock on the Malvern Hills, has reported that in just over 3 months, his sheep have been attacked by dogs on five separate occasions.
Four of the sheep survived following veterinary treatment but one ewe died as a result of a bite to the throat by a dog.
Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer, said ‘It’s shocking to see that these attacks are happening so frequently on the Malvern Hills when the issue can be completely avoided by putting a dog on a lead.’
Dog attacks are distressing for all parties including the graziers and the dog owners. In addition it is a criminal offence to allow a dog to worry or attack livestock, which includes chasing, and the police may be involved.
Beck added ‘It’s worrying to think that these records have come from just one grazier when there are more than 7 local people with livestock on the Hills and Commons. Many of these attacks sadly go unreported to us by graziers as they are so common.’
The Trust are also asking visitors to the Hills and Commons to contact the office if they witness a dog attacking livestock or see an injured sheep as soon as possible (01684 892002). Fast and effective treatment of a wound can give the sheep the best chance of survival.
Signs are clearly placed on the gates of the grazing compartments on the Malvern Hills to alert walkers that livestock are present. The locations of these temporary grazing compartments are available on the Trust’s website www.malvernhills.org.uk and are included in the Malvern Gazette each week.
However the Hills and Commons are registered Common Land and visitors to the Hills should expect to see cattle and sheep anywhere at any time. Cattle and sheep are an essential part of the management of the Hills and Commons.