The charity caring for the Malvern Hills and Commons is urging people to keep their dogs on leads near livestock after a sheep was killed by a dog.
The Malvern Hills Trust received a report on Tuesday that a sheep had been killed by a dog near St Ann’s Well. The sheep was chased and had severe bite wounds on its neck and face.
Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer, said "We are extremely saddened to report that a dog has killed a sheep on the Malvern Hills. The dog was off the lead near a livestock compartment and this incident could have been stopped if the dog was simply kept on a lead.”
This is the third sheep worrying incident in under a week after a sheep was found with bite wounds on its face on Friday 16th September and a sheep was chased out of the compartment by a dog on Sunday 19th September.
John Chance, Malvern Hills Grazier said “To see sheep killed in such an attack is extremely distressing. The sheep will have been afraid and suffered in its last moments as it bled to death. Even if sheep aren’t killed, the act of chasing by dogs causes severe distress to the animals which can result in injury or other complications.”
Livestock worrying, which includes chasing, is a criminal offence and the details of this incident have been reported to the police.
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 call the police on the 101 non-emergency number or online as a record of the offence.
Beck added "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."
"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. Unless you are certain you can recall your dog immediately whatever the circumstances please keep your dog on a lead at all times."
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 also be found 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.
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.