NINE sheep have been killed and a further 140 suffered abortions after a spree of dog attacks.

Police are reminding dog owners to be vigilant around livestock following two cases of sheep worrying in West Sussex.

Eight pregnant ewes were killed on Gumber Farm in Slindon after a “prolonged period of worrying” which has cost a farmer in excess of £1,500.

A further 140 lambs had abortions as a result of the incident on Thursday, November 11.

On the same day, a sheep was killed and two were injured during an attack at a farm in London Road, Washington.

Two husky dogs had escaped from a nearby garden at around 9.40am, according to police.

They were eventually captured by the shepherd and were taken to a Durrington Police Station in Worthing to be identified by their owner.

The person who was looking after the dogs at the time attended a voluntary police interview.

PC Darren Algar, of the Sussex Police rural crime team, said: “We would once again urge people to keep their dogs under control and on leads around livestock or if there is a possibility that livestock are nearby even if you don’t see them right away.

“In addition to this, it’s vital that people who own dogs and has a garden which back onto farms ensure they are secure that dogs can’t escape from them.

“As in these cases the results can be devastating financially for farmers, especially just before Christmas and a challenging time of year.”

Sheep worrying is when a dog attacks or chases a sheep causing it to suffer injuries or an abortion.

Anyone with information which could help officers with their investigations is asked to report it online or call 101, quoting serial number 1352 of 13/11.

Earlier this month, three sheep were killed during a dog attack in a field in Clothalls Farm, West Grinstead.

A further nine sheep suffered bite injuries during the incident on November 4.

The farmer found their sheep scattered and scared, and they received appropriate care for shock and injuries.