A PLEA has been made for information after sheep were killed in a suspected dog attack last month at a Cumbrian nature reserve.

Two sheep were killed at Clints Quarry, a Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserve near Egremont, in what appeared to be an attack by a dog or dogs.

Staff at the wildlife charity were told about these deaths on Wednesday, September 18, by a member of the public.

A local farmer, who owns the sheep and grazes the quarry on behalf of the trust, had confirmed that he believed they had been killed by dogs.

They were then told that a further four dead sheep were found in the reserve on Wednesday, September 25. The trust said this report was being investigated.

Kevin Scott, the trust’s Northern reserves officer, said: “Nature reserves are special places where life is allowed to thrive, and so to have several sheep killed there by dogs in the space of a week is extremely distressing, especially for the owner of the sheep.

“The owner of the dog(s) involved must have been aware of its actions.

“Our nature reserves are open to the public for people to enjoy wildlife close-up and we understand that some people may want to take their dogs too, but it is essential that people keep their dogs on leads to avoid the unnecessary death of livestock and so that wildlife remains undisturbed,” he added.

Stephen Trotter, the trust’s chief executive, said: “This is a very disturbing and shocking incident.

“Dog worrying is completely unacceptable – and owners of dogs are personally responsible for the behaviour of their animals.

“I feel deeply for the farmer for whom this must be a very difficult time. This is the first time we’ve had an incident of this nature and the trust wants to do everything we can to ensure this does not happen again.”

The trust asked anyone with further information to come forward and report it to the police (call 101) or the RSPCA (call 0300 1234 999) so that whoever is responsible can be identified.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust has 38 nature reserves which people can visit and at all locations it asks that people keep dogs on leads, and to pick up any mess, for the benefit of wildlife and grazing animals. On certain nature reserves or at particular times of the year no dogs are permitted.