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Plea to dog owners over 'horrendous' sheep worrying

Herdwick sheep near Buttermere. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets under control around livestock, as lambing season reaches its peak.

One respected Cumbrian farmer was left distraught after one of her valuable Herdwick rams was mauled so badly it had to be put down.

The attack cost Jean Wilson hundreds of pounds, and has taken an emotional toll.

It was heart-breaking, particularly as it should have had its whole life in front of it. The vet bill was £400, not to mention disposal costs.

– Jean Wilson, Owner and breeder
Ullswater farmer and breeder Jean Wilson. Credit: Lake District National Park

Lake District National Park ranger Val Edmondson says sheep worrying is the result of a "mindless" minority of dog owners, and can have "horrendous" consequences.

Sheep worrying can and does have horrendous consequences, both for the farmer and dog owners.

This is a very sensitive and important time. Dogs chasing lambing sheep can cause them to abort and, in the worst cases, kill the ewe. Preferably they should be kept on a short lead around livestock.

Farmers have reported some sickening cases over the years and ultimately they have the right to shoot out of control pets. This is obviously a last resort, but sometimes they have no other choice.

– Val Edmondson, Lake District National Park Ranger