Five sheep have been viciously attacked and three killed by dogs on Ashdown Forest.
In the first of five separate attacks on Wednesday 12th August, one of the Conservators’ Hebridean sheep was mauled to death inside an electric-fenced enclosure at Chelwood Gate. The sheep’s injuries were appalling and the sheep suffered terribly before it died. The Forest Centre is appealing for any witnesses to come forward with any information.
Since last Thursday there have been four more attacks, two of them fatal. On Thursday 20th August an Akita dog escaped from its owner, chased and killed one of the Commoners’ ewes grazing on the Forest. This incident is being dealt with by Sussex Police. This dog is not responsible for any of the other attacks.
On Friday 21st August another sheep was killed by a large brown boxer-type dog with a white face outside Lower Misbourne Farm near Nutley. A witness took photographs of the dog, which could not be caught. No owner was present.
On Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd there were two more dog attacks near Misbourne Farm; it is not known whether the same dog was responsible. These two sheep are being treated for injuries which may yet prove fatal.
The Conservators of Ashdown Forest, who manage the land, urge dog-walkers to act responsibly to avoid further sheep attacks. If owners cannot keep their dogs under close control at all times, they must have them on a lead.
Each year, more than twenty sheep are killed or gravely injured by dogs on Ashdown Forest. Sheep-worrying is a criminal offence and a really serious problem on the Forest. Commoners (who have a right to graze livestock on Ashdown Forest) and Conservators alike have a “zero-tolerance” policy to sheep-worrying and, as a last resort, exercise the right to shoot dogs which are chasing or attacking their livestock. In May this year, a Labrador responsible for the death of three sheep, was shot dead on Ashdown Forest.
This spring, the Conservators launched a Code of Conduct for dog-walkers incorporating “The 4 Cs” –
- Care for Farm Animals and Wildlife
- Consider Others, and
- Clean Up
Contact the Conservators of the Ashdown Forest
Forest users are asked to be vigilant and report any incidences of sheep worrying to the Conservators immediately. More information about dog and the Ashdown Forest can be found on their website: www.ashdownforest.org. You can contact the Forest Centre on 01342 823583 (out of hours: 01342 822846) or Sussex Police on 101.