Five sheep have been killed in dog attacks on the Malvern Hills this year.

This has prompted countryside authorities to remind dog owners of the laws they should be following when walking on the Malverns.

But what is the law? This is what you need to know about walking your dog on the Malvern Hills.

Should dogs be on leads near livestock?

The Countryside Code asks all owners to ensure their dog “is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, horses, wildlife or other people”. And allowing your dog to worry (which includes chasing), bite or kill livestock is a criminal offence.

Beck Baker, from the Malvern Hills Trust, said: “We urge dog owners to always put their dogs on a lead when walking near livestock on the Malvern Hills and Commons.

Malvern Gazette: Sheep can often be found grazing on the Malvern HillsSheep can often be found grazing on the Malvern Hills

“If you cannot be certain that your dog will return immediately when called, whatever the circumstance, please keep your dog on a lead at all times.

“If all owners did this, together we'd put an end to these horrific incidents.”

Are sheep scared of dogs?

Sheep instinctively see dogs as predators. Even if dogs don’t bite them, the stress of being chased by a dog can cause sheep to get injured - and for pregnant ewes to lose their young through stress.

What to do if you find an injured sheep

If you see a dog causing livestock to be in distress, or come across an injured sheep or cow over the Malvern Hills, you are encouraged to call the Malvern Hills Trust on 01684 892002.

This is to ensure veterinary treatment can be administered swiftly. The Trust says you should also call the police on the 101 non-emergency number or report the incident online.

What is the penalty for sheep worrying?

Dog owners can be fined up to £1,000 and have to pay compensation if their dog is caught worrying sheep. And police have the power to detain dogs suspected of worrying livestock if the owner is not around.

How to know where livestock is grazing

The locations of livestock are published each week in Stockwatch updates on the Trust's website, on the Trust's social media and in the Malvern Gazette.

READ MORE: Malvern Hills dog attack leaves sheep dead and owners warned

Beck added: “By providing the locations of grazing livestock we can help people be prepared before they visit with their dog.

“People should however be aware that much of the hills and commons are registered Common Land and it may be that livestock are found outside the areas listed in Stockwatch.”