POLICE are urging dog walkers to keep their animals on leads following an incident in Exmoor National Park.

The appeal comes after a sheep was injured after being attacked by a dog in Luccombe.

PC Katy Drabble, from Avon and Somerset Police's rural crime team, said: "We welcome all visitors at Exmoor National Park and their four legged companions, however we would like to remind dog owners to walk their pets on a lead at all times.

"Livestock worrying is a big issue especially as we approach spring and we want to ensure that everyone gets to enjoy the countryside in peace."

Remember to follow the Countryside Code especially during the lambing season.

If your dog attacks livestock, you could end up being responsible for offences including criminal damage and sheep worrying, as well as potential prosecution for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Farmers also have the right to shoot dogs that are worrying or attacking livestock.

The rural crime team recommends:

  • Always checking for livestock in fields when walking dogs;
  • Always making sure you shut gates behind you;
  • When in or near fields with livestock, keep dogs on a lead and under control at all times. The only time you should release your dog is in the event of being chased by cattle. By restraining the dog in this circumstance you put yourself at risk of being injured;
  • If you live near livestock and own dogs make sure your property and garden are secure so your pets cannot escape.

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual saw a 50 percent rise in dogs attacks on live stock in the UK in 2016.