Two sheep have been fatally wounded and four more seriously injured during a suspected dog attack, in an area restricted for conservation at Rushmere Country Park.
Sheep had been introduced to Buzzard Meadow, a conservation area of the park where no public access is allowed, on Sunday morning where they were to graze the land.
On Monday evening the injured animals were discovered – two were so badly injured they had to be put down to end their suffering.
The sheep were on loan from a local grazier who has now moved his sheep from the park and is unlikely to allow them to return.
Greensand Trust Chief Executive Gill Welham said: “The injuries to the sheep suggest this was caused by a dog.
“While we welcome dogs in many areas of the park, we ask visitors to respect our conservation areas and have control of their dogs at all times to avoid such damaging consequences.
“This is not an isolated incident - the growing frequency of these attacks puts this traditional (and, in some cases, the only sustainable) form of management at threat, not to mention the distress caused to the animals and the local farmers who have to deal with both the financial and breeding consequences of such losses.
“We work closely with graziers and rely on their support to provide animals to graze our land.
“The sheep were in a secure fenced area and should have been safe – we’d erected signs in the vicinity to let visitors know about the sheep.
“We ask for the support of all those who visit our site to help us raise awareness of this issue.”