A CAMPAIGN to protect pregnant ewes has been launched by the Malvern Hills Conservators after two sheep were savaged.

Dogs worrying sheep can cause injury, miscarriage and even death and the Conservators want to educate owners about the risks with information notices around the hills and dog-training workshops.

Its own flock of 250 Cheviot ewes are currently in lamb and shepherd Richard Smith said it was particularly important that dogs were kept under control at this time.

He said: "We're asking owners who walk their pets on the hills to keep them on a lead around British Camp, unless they know they will not approach sheep. The sheep have been back on the hills for less than six weeks and two have already been savaged."

Colwall farmer John Bishop, who has previously been forced to shoot dogs that have worried his sheep, agreed it was a concern during lambing season.

He said: "The big problem is is that you don't know what damage is done. If the ewes they're chased about they can abort and give birth to still-borns but there's no way of telling at the time."

The Conservators are holding a drop-in session at British Camp car park from 11am to 1pm on Saturday, January 24, to advise dog owners on keeping their pets "sheep safe".

Local expert Sue Harper will be on hand to give advice and demonstrate dog training techniques. Visitors will also be able to talk to the shepherd and wardens. A course of six "sheep safe" lessons will also begin on January 31.