We're urging people to take extra care when walking their dogs on the Malvern Hills and commons after sheep and lambs were attacked.
One ewe and one lamb was killed in two separate dog attacks over the weekend. The death of the ewe leaves two young lambs orphaned and needing to be bottle fed.
The arrival of spring and warmer weather brings more visitors, and their dogs, to the Malvern Hills and Commons which coincides with the return of sheep and their lambs to graze.
Livestock attacks happen
Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer stated 'Every year there are reports from the graziers on the Hills and Commons of dog attacks on sheep. In February we reported that one of the cattle had been attacked by a dog on the Northern Hills. These incidents can be prevented by simply keeping your dog on a lead when you're near sheep and cattle"
Livestock worrying, which includes chasing, is a criminal offence and could lead to the destruction of the dog.
Beck added "The attacks are distressing for the dog owner and devastating for the farmer. The sheep are part of the farmer's livelihood, the loss of a sheep can be very costly, and vet bills for a ewe can be in excess of £150."
What we're doing to help
- To help local dog walkers, the Trust are offering subsidised dog training courses. The aim of the course is to train dogs to ignore livestock and other moving targets. The fee is subsidised by the Trust and costs only £30 if participants attend all 6 classes. Classes are run by local dog trainer and behaviourist Sue Harper and start on the 4th of June 2017 for 6 weeks from 2pm-4pm. Contact Sue Harper, for booking and more details - 01684 568067.
- The Trust are also running a guided dog walk on Saturday 20th May with Sue Harper and a local grazier to talk about the benefits of grazing and meet other local dog walkers.
- The locations of cattle and sheep on the Hills and Commons can be found on our Stockwatch, or by checking the Malvern Gazette each week. Subscribe to Stockwatch to receive weekly alerts on the location of livestock on the Hills and Commons straight to your email inbox.
- Signs on the hand gates of the grazing compartments also alert dog walkers to the importance of keeping a dog under control. However, the Malvern Hills and commons are registered Common Land and dog walkers should expect to see livestock and any point.
- Sue Harper has provided some top tips for puppy owners to help prevent sheep chasing.
Cattle and sheep grazing is essential to keep the Hills special, conserve and protect the wildlife and heritage for the public to enjoy.