A RISE in dog attacks on sheep has prompted a police warning.

Durham Constabulary has put out the warning to dog owners after a sheep was injured.

The animal was injured following what police describe as a "nasty attack" in Ferryhill.

A spokesperson for the force confirmed the incident is believed to have happened on the morning of Friday, February 15.

A farmer discovered the sheep had an injured ear and reported the matter to the police.

The owner of the farm, which is located in Kirk Merrington, Ferryhill, said they were alarmed and saddened by the injuries to their animal.

PC Emma Bartley, from Bishop Auckland response team said there had been a rise in the number of dog attacks on sheep which needed to stop.

She said: “We have recently seen a rise in attacks by dogs on sheep which causes heartache to the farmers who on many occasions have reared the sheep from lambs.

“No animals should be attacked, chased, frightened or killed and no farmer should be losing their animals in this way.

“This can be avoided by being a responsible dog owner.

"Please ensure your garden or yard is escape proof, dogs are not unattended and are kept on a lead at all times around livestock.”

Anyone with information about the attack should contact the police by calling the non emergency number 101.

Alternatively if you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling their operators on 0800-555111.