Sheep mauled to death in Ashdown Forest

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ASHDOWN Forest rangers are now making regular patrols after another horrifying dog attack.

Four sheep were literally mauled to death on Saturday.

Another Hebridean sheep was also badly attacked and now has such a severely damaged leg, she is permanently lame.

The attacks happened just three months after an earlier spate of killings by out-of-control dogs in April this year.

Tracey Buxton, administrator, said: “This latest attack was truly horrific. We’ve put pictures up on our Facebook page but they might be too graphic for some people.

“What’s worse is we believe the dog or dogs were with people who have not come forward to own up. Our shepherd is absolutely desperate and is now making extra visits to her flock.”

The Hebridean – from a breed suited to grazing rough grasses and herbage – is one of a flock of small, black sheep introduced to manage the forest environment.

The injured sheep has been brought in to be cared for so her lamb can remain with her. Tracey said: “The grazier and farmer, Henry Osborne from Nutley, are very upset. Vets’ bills have been horrendous too.”

Dogs have posed a problem for rangers this year, with one dog attack on a horse and rider which traumatised the horse and injured the rider.

Notices on every gate ask dog walkers to keep their animals on leads where animals are grazing and they are only on a small area of the forest.

Tracey said: “There is plenty of room for people and dogs to walk where there is no livestock at all.”

Farmers have the right to shoot dogs if they see them attacking animals, but Tracey added: “This is really a last resort. We welcome dog walkers on the forest and just beg them to be responsible.”

If you see dogs chasing or attacking sheep please ring the Forest Centre on: 01342 283583.