Five sheep have been attacked

Five sheep have been attacked

Dog walkers in the Peak District are being urged to keep their pets on a lead after attacks on sheep.

Five of the animals were attacked by domestic dogs at Burbage and Houndkirk in less than a week.

National park officials said during the breeding season of spring and early summer, new-born lambs and declining birds such as lapwing, curlew and snipe which nest on the ground are particularly vulnerable to harm from dogs roaming free or on long leads.

Signs reminding people to keep their dogs under control have gone up on gates and stiles across the national park. By law, dogs must be under control on public rights of way and on a short lead on open access land from 1 March to 31 July. In fields containing farm animals and nesting birds it is sensible to keep dogs on a lead, the Peak District National Park Authority said.

National park ranger manager Jenny Waller said: “Walking a dog is one of the joys of the countryside, but we need all dog owners to think about young animals and keep their pets on short leads during this particularly sensitive time.

“Sheep and lambs can be badly injured or killed by uncontrolled dogs. For its own safety, never let a dog approach or chase farm animals or wildlife; your dog can get kicked, trampled or lost, and it could be legally shot for chasing farm animals.

“Cows will often defend their calves by turning on a dog. If that happens it’s best to unclip the lead – a dog can usually look after itself – and get out of the field as quickly as possible, then call your dog as soon as you are out of danger.

“Legally, you do not have to use a lead on public paths, but you should be extra-vigilant in the breeding season, and always use a lead if you can’t rely on your dog’s obedience.”

Dogs are not allowed at all on some areas at certain times to protect sensitive breeding sites – signs will indicate this.

The authority said, to report incidents involving dogs on farmland or moors, call the police on 101.

More advice is in the Countryside Code.

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