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Dog owners urged to keep their dogs under control after sheep attacks at Barnack Hills and Holes

Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets under control after a number of sheep attacks at a nature reserve.

A rare breed sheep has died and there have been other recent incidents involving dogs and sheep at Barnack Hills and Holes.

Natural England reserve manager, Tim Starsmore-Sutton, said: “The grazing that our rare breed sheep carry out is vital to help keep this rare and important limestone grassland site so wildflower-rich.

Barnack Hills and Holes
Barnack Hills and Holes

"They ensure the continued survival of the habitat by preventing the grasses dominating and allow space for rare species such as pasque flower and our array of orchids to thrive.

“Sadly, whilst the majority of visitors understand this important issue, we face a minority who either cannot control their dogs, or ignore our requests.

“This results in our sheep facing trauma, injury or death through being chased and attacked.

"It’s obviously a really distressing situation for the sheep, but it’s also devastating for our team to have to deal with the aftermath of an attack.”

Following previous dog attacks on livestock, a 'no dogs' restriction was imposed on the compartment of the site that holds the livestock.

Clear signage and maps at the entrances allow visitors to know where these measures are enforced.

The remaining three quarters of the site allow dogs if they are on leads or under close control, but that is now under review in light of the recent attacks.

Natural England is appealing for visitors to please adhere to the signs indicating no dogs in the grazing compartment, and report any issues.

If there is a dog loose in the grazing zone, please dial 101 immediately and log the incident with the police, and then contact 01780 444704.

If an emergency is in progress, please dial 999.

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