Operation Flock launched to stop Burnley sheep worrying

Sheep and walls above Hurstwood
Image caption A recent incident saw sheep pursued and attacked, leaving them with "horrendous injuries"

An operation to combat sheep worrying has been launched by police in Lancashire after dog attacks left two sheep dead and three seriously injured.

Operation Flock will see officers around Burnley carry out increased patrols to reassure farmers and educate dog owners.

Farmers in the Hurstwood area have contacted police with concerns about dogs chasing and attacking their sheep.

PC Fran Fleming said owners needed to "act responsibly" in rural areas.

Local farmer Michael Holmes said that most owners thought their dog would not "chase and attack sheep, or any other animal for that matter, but unfortunately they will".

"After all, most dogs still have a bit of wolf in them," he said.

A police spokesman said a recent incident had resulted in sheep being pursued and attacked, leaving them with "horrendous injuries".

He said one sheep had been so frightened, "it ran into deep water where it is believed to have drowned or died from its injuries".

Ms Fleming said allowing a dog to attack sheep could have serious penalties, including large fines and even imprisonment for dog owners or those in control of a dog.

"Apart from the distress and harm the animals are suffering, there is the financial loss with each sheep and its lambs, which are worth up to £120," she said.

"Farmers have the right to shoot any dog which is worrying or attacking their animals.

"By worrying, we don't just mean attacking the animals physically, but running after them and chasing them around especially when they are all carrying young lambs.

"I urge dog owners to act responsibly and keep their dog under control and on a lead at all times."

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