Police are appealing to dog owners to keep their pets under control in Delamere Forest following attacks on livestock.

Western Rural Neighbourhood Policing Unit have received a number of complaints in recent months concerning dogs injuring sheep on farmland which borders the forest.

Areas particularly affected are those close to established walking routes such as the Sandstone Trail.

One farmer has reported four of his sheep injured and one killed in the past year alone.

Officers are particularly keen to hear from anybody who may have witnessed a dog described as an Alsatian cross run on to land near Ashton Road before chasing and harming two sheep on November 18.

The dog was reported to have returned to its owners, who then fled from the scene.

PC Adam Norton, wildlife crime officer
PC Adam Norton, wildlife crime officer

Wildlife crime officer PC Adam Norton is urging people to be responsible whilst walking their dogs near livestock.

He said: “We know that dog walkers derive a great deal of enjoyment from established walking routes and we would encourage them to continue to do so.

“However, it is essential that they do so responsibly.

“A dog should be under proper control at all times. To put this into context, should you choose to walk your dog off lead you should be 100% confident that they will respond to command at all times.

“You should have the same level of control as if they were wearing a lead.”

PC Norton added that a lack of such discipline could lead to prosecution under the Dangerous Dogs or Criminal Damage Acts, and highlighted the financial impact on farmers, he said. “While members of the farming community take measures to fence off land to protect their livelihood, a loose dog can get through the smallest of gaps in the perimeter and the resulting damage can be devastating, running into hundreds of pounds.”