DOG owners in Lancashire have been told to keep their animals under control when on countryside walks.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which supports landowners, warned loose dogs can distress pregnant ewes, causing them to abort their young.

In October last year, the Lancashire Telegraph reported how a sheep was killed and four more had to be put down after they were attacked by a dog at Far Wanless Farm in Trawden.

Then in December, Whalley farmer Colin Middleton sparked controversy when he tied a dead sheep to a gate close to a public footpath as a warning to irresponsible dog owners.

Douglas Chalmers, director of policy and public affairs for CLA North, said: “Most people are very understanding and walk with their dogs on leads near livestock — but there are some who do not even consider doing this.

“A lead should always be used when walking close to livestock.”