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Dog attacks and injures sheep in Gobions

Incident happened despite warning signs


Warning signs at the Mymms Drive entrance to Gobions Wood nature reserve Image by North Mymms News released under Creative Commons


Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) has posted a notice at one of the entrances to the Gobions Wood nature reserve following a dog attack on sheep which the sign indicates happened on bank holiday Monday 27 May.

However, according to the HMWT Facebook page the incident happened three days later on Thursday 30 May when a dog entered an enclosure and chased the sheep around for about 20 minutes. During that time the dog owner was not able to call the animal back.

HMWT says that one of the sheep panicked, jumped the fence and ran away. Trust staff then spent around 12 hours - time they say which could have been invested more sensibly - searching for the sheep which was discovered in a nearby garden scared and exhausted.

HMWT says it welcomes responsible owners and their dogs on most of the trust's nature reserves if under control - that is, on the path and in sight. But they ask for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead in areas with livestock.

The notice about the attack has been pinned to the gate at the Mymms Drive entrance to the reserve in an area marked as a yellow zone, meaning dogs must be kept on the lead.

At the same entrance are other reminders to dog owners that there is livestock in the area, that dogs must be keep on the lead, and that uncontrolled dogs could cause serious harm.

Warning signs at the Mymms Drive entrance to Gobions Wood nature reserve Image by North Mymms News released under Creative Commons
Warning signs at the Mymms Drive entrance to Gobions Wood nature reserve
Image by North Mymms News released under Creative Commons

Several signs point out the danger of dogs running uncontrolled in the area Image by North Mymms News released under Creative Commons
Several signs point out the danger of dogs running uncontrolled in the area
Image by North Mymms News released under Creative Commons

The colour-coded signs were introduced by the trust in March to protect “the delicate nature of the habitat or due to the presence of grazing animals”.

Last month some of the dog restriction signs were removed; HMWT said at the time that it didn't know who took the signs down.

Criminal offence


The dog attack on the sheep was investigated by officers from Hertfordshire police with two police cars attending the scene of the incident.

So-called “sheep worrying” and dog attacks on sheep are criminal offences. Sheep Watch UK, which claims 15,000 sheep are killed each year by pet dogs being let off the lead,  has set out how dog owners should behave when around sheep.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is one of five forces to team up with Sheep Watch, the National Farmers’ Union, and the National Sheep Association to produce “Livestock worrying” a guide (embedded below) for farmers and landowners about how to deal with such attacks.



HMWT and other reaction


Following the publication of this article the HMWT sent out this tweet.




The HMWT posted about the incident in its Facebook page.





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