A LEADING sheep industry figure is urging farmers to report their experiences of sheep worrying by dogs.
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association (NSA), says he wants to gather evidence of attacks to get dog walkers to take the issue seriously.
Each year, dozens of sheep and lambs are injured or killed following sheep worrying incidents in Cumbria, north Lancashire and the Dales.
In the latest incident in South Lakeland, a sheep had to be destroyed after it was attacked by a lurcher near Kendal.
Police have launched an investigation into the attack which occured on Tuesday, March 11, at around 11am near Hawes Bridge, Natland. The injuries sustained were so severe that the sheep had to be put down, officers said.
Police are looking for the owner of the dog, who is described at a white female, with long, dark brown hair.
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A spokesman said the woman was walking with two lurchers at the time.
Mr Stocker said: “Sheep worrying by dogs is an issue NSA has been vocal about for some time. We continue to receive reports of attacks on sheep by dogs but we need evidence and information from around the UK to gain attention for the issue and to get dog walkers to take it seriously. That is why we are running the survey and urge all sheep farmers to participate.
“We do not want to discourage people from enjoying our beautiful countryside but feel that if everyone is aware of their responsibilities as well as their rights, rural areas can be used by farmers and the public harmoniously.”
The NSA sheep worrying by dogs survey is available for farmers to complete on the NSA website and at www.surveymonkey.com/s/sheepworrying. Farmers can also complete the questionn-aire over the phone.