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NSA joins forces with rural crime teams for sheep worrying by dogs awareness day

29th February 2024

Demonstrating a united force in highlighting the serious issue of sheep worrying by dogs, the National Sheep Association (NSA) joined together with Police Rural Crime teams this week to meet with dog owners raising awareness of the problem.

The day was coordinated by the Sussex Police Rural Crime team at the popular dog walking location of Ashdown Forest, East Sussex. Just 30 miles from London, the historic area of woodland and heathland is the largest public open space in South East England, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year, many of whom choose to walk their dogs in the area that is also home to both sheep and cattle.

Nicola Noble who leads on NSA’s sheep worrying by dogs activity was in attendance taking the opportunity to speak with dog walkers raising awareness of sheep worrying by dogs and promote responsible dog ownership including keeping pets under close control and on a lead when sheep may be grazing nearby.

Mrs Noble comments: “It was great to see and join this proactive engagement this week. The forest is a popular spot for locals, tourists and those who work in London with second homes in the countryside and therefore it has sadly been the site of numerous livestock attacks in the past.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to chat directly with dog walkers to highlight the devastating consequences of not just physical dog attacks on sheep but also to raise awareness that barking and chasing by dogs can be just as harmful. It is not the most pleasant topic to talk about but many attacks by dogs occur due to a lack of understanding. So awareness raising activities like this are a useful tool to educate and advise the general public and also to provide guidance on what to do if they witness a sheep attack by a dog or come across the often shocking aftermath.”  

Police Officers spent the day with Forest Rangers and local neighbourhood watch members walking the forest paths, engaging with dog walkers to highlight the importance of sheep worrying by dogs awareness alongside the negative effects on wildlife from out-of-control dogs.

This awareness day comes ahead of the NSA Sheep Worrying Awareness Week that takes place from Monday 25th March. This week of activity will include webinars, social media activity using the campaign hashtag #LeadOn, online case studies and more. NSA will also use the week to share survey results from its recent Police Rural Crime team survey that identifies the scale of sheep worrying by dog incidents reported to the Police. It is hoped these survey results can be used to continue to raise awareness of the issue and to find ways of improving education, guidance and cooperation with the general public.

For more information on the issue of sheep worrying by dogs and NSA’s work on this issue please visit