A FARMER who grazes his stock on the hills says his sheep have been attacked by dogs five times in just over three months.

And the Malvern Hills Trust is renewing its appeal for dog owners to put their pets on a lead when walking near livestock on the hills and commons.

Four of the sheep survived following veterinary treatment but one ewe died as a result of a bite to the throat.

Beck Baker, community and conservation officer, said: "It’s shocking to see that these attacks are happening so frequently on the Malvern Hills when the issue can be completely avoided by putting a dog on a lead.

"Dog attacks are distressing for all parties including the graziers and the dog owners. In addition it is a criminal offence to allow a dog to worry or attack livestock, which includes chasing, and the police may be involved.

"It’s worrying to think that these records have come from just one grazier when there are more than seven local people with livestock on the hills and commons. Many of these attacks sadly go unreported to us by graziers as they are so common."

The Trust is also asking visitors to the hills and commons to contact the office on 01684 892002 as soon as possible if they witness a dog attacking livestock or see an injured sheep. Fast and effective treatment of a wound can give the sheep the best chance of survival.

Signs are clearly placed on the gates of grazing compartments on the Malvern Hills to alert walkers that livestock are present.

The locations of these temporary grazing compartments are available malvernhills.org.uk and are included in the Malvern Gazette each week.

However the hills and commons are registered common land and visitors to the hills should expect to see cattle and sheep anywhere at any time. Cattle and sheep are an essential part of the management of the hills and commons.