Injured ewe

Injured ewe

Unlike many previous posts, which have been celebrating the summer from the perspective of our visitors and wildlife, this one is of a much more serious nature. Twice now in the last month a dog or dogs have attacked the ewes and lambs that are grazing the lower slopes of Butser Hill. The images show an adult ewe which had been chased in to a corner, suffering extensive bites to the neck and rear. The true extent of the damage is masked by the wool and this animal is lucky to be alive today.

Injured ewe

Injured ewe

 It is widely acknowledged that even though our dogs have been domesticated for years, they have not lost their basic instincts. These can be triggered by a sudden movement, a scent or sound and for this reason all dogs must be kept on a lead in a field or compartment where livestock are present. Where we have cattle or sheep grazing a series of A3 signs are posted at all the entrance/exit points so that dog owners can be warned in advance. These simply read ‘cattle/sheep are grazing this area your dog must be on a lead’.

Unfortunately there are a small minority of irresponsible dog owners whose actions lead to these type of injures (see earlier blog about dogs and deer). The daily duty ranger is always out and about in the Park and we welcome any information from visitors which will help tackle this issue.   

The current legislation covers livestock worrying fairly well and the Police and District Council Dog Warden are always involved in cases at QECP. To class as ‘worrying’ one or more of the following needs to be relevant; attacking livestock, chasing them where they may be reasonably expected suffer injury or stress, and being at large (not on a lead) in a field in which there is livestock.  

Dog training

Dog training

   For those owners wishing to train or socialize their pets there are many dog clubs in the area which organise  regular meetings and events. The image was taken at a recent dog show held at the Park (see earlier blog) where as part of the Dog Citizen training the owners, and their pets, had to walk up to a pen of sheep, sit and then leave without any fuss. For many people it was a valuable chance to see how their animals react to meeting livestock for the first time.

If in any doubt however, for the sake of our sheep and wildlife, please keep your dog on a lead.

 

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