A FARMER has urged dog owners to keep their pets on leads after two incidents of sheep worrying at Southwick.

The first time it was a black and white spaniel chasing the sheep near Southwick Country Park.

The second involved an Alsatian or Husky cross that chased the sheep across several fields and left a number limping on Shamrock Park Farm.

The farmer, Will Mulholland, said in addition to the ones limping, a number of his pregnant ewes were left in shock.

Mr Mulholland warns that even if a ewe doesn't show physical injury, the stress caused greatly increases the risk of her losing her unborn lambs.

In a video posted on local social media, he said the “shock and stress” caused by the dogs would affect the sheep’s metabolism leading to a magnesium and calcium energy deficit.

“There is a lag time with the onset of this condition, and if left untreated, within a couple of hours she will be dead.

“Fortunately, we are able to treat this ewe. I am pretty sure that we will be able to get her right but whether her lambs will still be alive I don't know, it is not a good experience.”

He described the Alsatian or Husky cross as going absolutely berserk, biting at the backs of the lambs, and said: "In some ways, it is fortunate we have an electric fence and so the sheep were able to break through it instead of being trapped and killed by this dog.

“We would urge owners to keep their dogs under control at all times and, if they don’t respond to the recall, to definitely keep them on a lead when walking in the countryside or near farmland.”

Mr Mulholland runs a flock of Barbados Blackbelly and Wiltshire Horn sheep at Shamrock Park Farm in Hoggington Lane, Southwick, and operates a lamb meat box scheme for local villages and towns.