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Section of Barnack Hills and Holes is closed after a sheep was killed in a dog attack

Part of a nature reserve has been closed off after one of its most popular sheep was killed in a dog attack.

One of the ewes at Barnack Hills and Holes was found seriously injured by a volunteer last week.

A vet was called to check over the animal but the puncture wounds to her throat, neck and face were untreatable and she had to be put to sleep.

Wonky died following a dog attack at Barnack Hills and Holes
Wonky died following a dog attack at Barnack Hills and Holes

It was the third time the sheep had been attacked.

A spokesperson for Natural England, which manages the site, said: “The victim of this latest attack was well known locally. Wonky, or Necky as she was sometimes known, was a black and white Shetland sheep, friendly and inquisitive, and she often approached visitors and children to say hello.

“Wonky gained her name from a dog attack whilst she was still young. The dog caused significant injuries which resulted in a kink in her neck. Several years later another dog attack resulted in near fatal injuries but thankfully she did make a full recovery.

Hills and Holes at Barnack. Photo: Stock image
Hills and Holes at Barnack. Photo: Stock image

“Sadly, this latest dog attack resulted in puncture wounds to her throat and chest and we had no option but to put her down, much to the dismay of staff and visitors alike.”

Dog attacks at the site have increased significantly in recent years, leading to the formation of a volunteer group to keep an eye out for trouble.

The spokesperson added: “While most dog owners observe the large signs telling them that dogs are not allowed in the sheep area, we have seen a considerable increase in the number of dogs on the site since lockdown.

“As a result we have seen an increase in sheep worrying and attacks on our sheep and it is increasingly common for us to have to put down injured sheep because of these attacks.

“We have now started a volunteer group on the site to look out for people ignoring notices. They are responsible for a significant reduction in such attacks but they cannot be on site all day, every day and we urge dog walkers to follow all the signs and avoid areas where there are livestock.”

Gates around the sheep area have now been locked since Wonky’s attack and it is hoped the remaining animals will be moved to another reserve within the next few weeks.

While tending to Wonky, staff also reprimanded four teenagers who were chasing and shouting at the flock.

Anyone with information about the dog attack should contact Natural England on 0300 060 6000.

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