Warning to dog owners after sheep attacked

Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust sheep grazing on Ketton Quarry Nature Reserve. EMN-140110-160439001
Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust sheep grazing on Ketton Quarry Nature Reserve. EMN-140110-160439001
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Dog owners have been warned to keep their animals under control after attacks on sheep grazing in a nature reserve.

A Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust sheep was bitten several times by a dog at Ketton Quarry Nature Reserve.

Earlier in the year a sheep from the trust’s flock was found dead with a number of dog bites on the carcass.

Conservation officer John Bristow said: “It is extremely rare for us to have to deal with such incidents but to have two attacks in a relatively short space of time is worrying, particularly when the latest incident occurred in a gated and fenced area of the nature reserve where signage clearly asks visitors not to bring dogs into.

“Although we do not rely upon our sheep as a means of income, they are an important land management tool and loss through incidents such as this does have an economic impact in terms of staff time, the cost of treatment and replacement costs if necessary.

“As a charity, every penny is important to the trust and any unforeseen but seemingly avoidable costs do reduce what we have to carry out our core work.

“The emotional impact of such incidents should also not be underestimated as you cannot account for the distress caused to those discovering a severely injured or dead animal.

“In this particular case, the conservation officer responsible for the flock was clearly shaken by what she discovered when making a routine welfare check and was surprised the sheep was still alive given the severity of the injuries.”

Thankfully the sheep is now recovering and should be reintroduced to the flock soon. But the trust is concerned about the increasing number of dog attacks on its animals. It pointed to a campaign by the Farmers Guardian newspaper to raise awareness of livestock “worrying” and how such incidents can be avoided.

The trust’s flock will carry on grazing in Ketton Quarry during the autumn.

The trust has called for people to report any injured sheep on 0116 2629968.