A SPATE of sheep attacks on the Malvern Hills has led to an urgent warning being issued to dog owners.

The Malvern Hills Trust said it was urging people to keep dogs on leads after what it called a "spate" of attacks on hills and commons in the area, which spans the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.

Over the last week, the trust said four sheep worrying incidents were reported to staff, and two sheep were bitten.

One of the incidents was witnessed by a member of the trust's staff who intervened and stopped the dog chasing the sheep on Jubilee Hill.

The seriousness of the issue was explained to the owners who put the dog on a lead, the trust said.


"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," a spokesperson said.

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 completely 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."

Hereford Times: Sheep have been attacked by dogs on the Malvern Hills. Picture: Malvern Hills Trust Sheep have been attacked by dogs on the Malvern Hills. Picture: Malvern Hills Trust

The trust said it hoped the injured sheep would make a full recovery.

The spokesperson said any witnesses to livestock worrying incidents should call the trust on 01694 892002 to ensure veterinary treatment can be administered swiftly and also to the police on 101.

"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," they said.


"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.

Ms Baker 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."

The trust said sheep safe courses by an experienced dog behaviourist were available to teach owners how to encourage their pet to ignore livestock.

"This training reduces the risk of chasing if dog walkers encounter livestock unexpectedly but owners are encouraged to put their dog on a lead at all times near livestock," the trust spokesperson said.

"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."