A surge in dog attacks on livestock has forced areas of Stonehenge to become ‘dog free zones’.
Dog walkers in the Durrington and Cursus and Avenue areas have been banned from letting their pet roam in fields with livestock after tenant farmers raised concern sheep worrying incidents were on the rise.
Local farmer Hugh Morrison said he had to get into the habit of carrying needles and sutures out to flock inspection because he was so expectant to find severe injuries.
He said: “It has been a persistent problem for some years and is getting worse.
“It causes the sheep less stress to treat it immediately rather than move it away for treatment.”
Despite an ongoing push to gatepost signage across the fields to warn dog owners to keep their animal on a lead, the number of dog attacks are increasing.
The limitations allow ‘permissive access’ for people to walk freely in fields with no livestock, but access has been capped in areas where farmers had been worst affected.
The restrictions do not, however, affect public Right of Ways.
Jan Tomlin, general manager for the National Trust in the Wiltshire countryside, said: “A dog either worrying or attacking sheep is a crime, but despite this we have had an extended and particularly horrible period of sheep worrying with lambs being very badly injured on Trust land over the last month or so.”
Mr Morrison added: “There were three incidents back-to-back last month, so while I speak to many friendly dog walkers who behave well with their pets, we do need to do something to tackle this now.”