Sheep Worrying Awareness Week

The Malvern Hills Trust is reminding dog walkers of the importance of putting their dogs on leads near livestock this week.

From the 25th March to the 1st April the National Sheep Association are promoting Sheep Worrying Awareness Week to highlight evidence suggesting that there has been an increase in incidents of sheep worrying in the UK and the significant impact these incidents have on people's livelihoods.

As sheep and cattle can be found grazing the Malvern Hills and Commons all year round, the Trust are urging people to put their pets on leads near livestock in the run up to Easter.

Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer said "As the weather improves and Easter approaches, we're expecting more people to visit the Hills and Commons.  We want people to have an enjoyable time here with their pets and are encouraging people to put their dogs on leads to keep the cattle and sheep safe."

"Livestock attacks by dogs are devastating and distressing to everyone involved but can be stopped by ensuring that dogs are kept on leads near grazing livestock."

John Chance, Grazier said "Recently, the number of incidents of sheep worrying has been low and I'd like to thank those who take the lead and take responsibility for their dogs by keeping them under close control.  Let's keep this up to protect the sheep and newborn lambs on the Hills and Commons this spring."

Livestock worrying, which includes chasing, is a criminal offence and those who do not have control of their dog may face a fine or, in serious cases, see their dogs destroying.  Sheep and lambs may not always be visible so dogs should always be kept in sight and under close control at all time and on a lead where cattle and sheep are grazing.

Those who witness sheep worrying on the Hills and Commons should report it to the Trust on 01684 892002 and to the police on 101.

To help visitors find out more about where they may find livestock, the locations of cattle and sheep within the Trust's grazing projects are published weekly on Stockwatch.  In addition to this, much of the Malvern Hills and Commons are registered Common Land so cattle and sheep may be found freely grazing and this information may not be available on Stockwatch.