POLICE are warning dog owners to keep their pets on a lead after sheep were attacked in the Forest.

A report was made to police about a loose dog attacking sheep on farmland in the Lydbrook and Eastbach area on February 17.

A loose, medium-sized black dog with a brown collar was reported to have chased a ewe down the road and bitten its ear off. 

Two days earlier the same dog is alleged to have chased another ewe causing an injury to its ear, say Gloucestershire Police.

PC Cath McDay from the Rural Crime Team said: “Dog owners are reminded that they are responsible for their dogs at all times and allowing them out of sight to roam does not negate your responsibility for your pets.

“Offences are being committed under the Dangerous Dogs act and the Protection of Livestock Act and incidents of this nature are taken seriously, particularly at this time of year when many sheep are in lamb and due to give birth to young at any moment.

“Please be mindful of your dog escaping or being out of sight around livestock.”

A Gloucestershire Police spokeswoman added: “Sheep represent a farmer's income and are often worth a substantial sum. If they are attacked or killed, the loss that farmers face can leave them substantially out of pocket.

“Sheep worrying can include dogs attacking animals physically, running after them/chasing the sheep around, especially when they are carrying lambs or there are young lambs within the flock.

“Dog faeces left on grazing land may also carry disease which can kill sheep and affect unborn lambs.”

Anyone who has any information about this incident is asked to complete an online form at www.gloucestershire.police.ukquoting incident 193 of February 19.

Before letting their dogs off the lead in rural areas, people are advised to ensure there are no livestock in a field.

It is an offence not to keep a dog under control and, as a last resort to protect their animals, landowners have the right to shoot a dog that is worrying livestock.

If they do so, they have to notify police within 48 hours.