Torridge District Council has made a plea for dog owners to keep their pets under control after a lamb was found dead on Northam Burrows.

Sheep and lambs on Northam Burrows.Sheep and lambs on Northam Burrows.

The lamb was found dead on Monday (April 20) with injuries consistent with that of a dog attack.

The council confirmed the incident is being investigated and is asking anyone who may have information to report it to the police.

The country park is popular with dog walkers but is also a grazing common for animals. It is currently home to a small group of horses as a well as a large flock of sheep.

Lead ranger Michael Day urged all dog walkers to be responsible when using the burrows.

He said: “Dogs in the park must be kept under control at all times to prevent disturbance to wildlife and livestock.

“Signage, leaflets and other measures have been introduced to raise awareness of this and incidents have decreased in recent years. However, this tragic occurrence is a timely reminder of the risk posed by dogs when not properly controlled.

“I urge all dog walkers to be responsible when walking on Northam Burrows and to bear in mind that sheep worrying is a criminal offence.”

The vehicle gates to Northam Burrows were closed last month at the request of police to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but the park remains open to pedestrians.

Westward Ho! ward member, Councillor Nick Laws added: “Unfortunately every year there seems to be an incident of this nature which is both distressing and annoying.

“Owners should be aware of how their dogs might react around sheep and should take appropriate precautions. If they are unsure then they should keep their dogs on leads at all times and not take any risks.

“If anyone witnesses an event please report it and help us deal with the small minority of irresponsible owners.”

Anyone with information is asked to report it to police by calling 101 and quoting the reference CR0318352