Sussex Police’s rural crime lead has described himself as ‘incredibly frustrated’, following two further dog attacks on sheep on the Downs above Worthing, which led to one ewe having to be put down.

The attacks, which took place at Cissbury Ring and Washington, follow other recent incidents, despite police advice warning dog owners to keep pets on leads around sheep.

There have also been warning signs put in place by police and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), while a farmer-led event highlighting risks has also taken place.

Warning signs are in place asking dog owners to keep pets on leads.

Police said of the two ewes attacked on Saturday (March, 10), one had to be put down after it was found with a serious head injury.

Sergeant Tom Carter said:

“Given all the publicity around these attacks across the county and especially at Cissbury Ring, I’m incensed that dog owners are still letting their pets run loose among livestock and cause dreadful suffering to the sheep that they are savaging.

“One of these attacks happened only yards away from one of our signs warning about keeping dogs on a lead.

“The owner of the dog involved in the second incident has done the ‘responsible’ thing and admitted to the attack.

“This is an economic loss to the farmer, but it goes way beyond financial considerations and I am incredibly frustrated that these attacks are continuing.

“No matter how well-behaved or well-trained you think they are, your cuddly, docile pet can turn vicious, uncontrollable killer in the blink of an eye.

“Don’t think you can put them on a lead the moment you see sheep, they’ll probably see them before you and they’re gone.”

Sussex NFU adviser James Osman added:

“It is now the lambing season and across Sussex, around 330,000 ewes are giving birth to lambs now and over the coming month.

“These attacks are appalling given that only last weekend farmers across Sussex were out talking to dog owners, asking them to use a lead near livestock and to check their properties are dog proof.”

Anyone with information is asked to report it online to police here, or call 101, quoting reference number 242 of 10/03.