A DOG owner has been given a criminal behaviour order after her German shepherd attacked and frightened 200 sheep and lambs in a paddock near Wimborne.

Two sheep suffered severe bite marks and two others had aborted pregnancies after the frightening incident in Knighton Lane on March 12 last year.

Wendy Knight, 52 and of Sheasby Close in Sixpenny Handley, pleaded guilty to being in charge of a dog which worried livestock when she appeared before Poole magistrates' court.

She was fined £300 but also made the subject of a strict criminal behaviour order which states she cannot be in charge of more than two dogs in any public place.

She must ensure any dog she is in charge of is wearing a robust and well-fitted collar and lead and a muzzle. She is forbidden to walk any dog on land that has livestock on it.

The court heard Knight had been walking her dog in a small paddock next to Canford Magna Garden Centre and allowed it off its lead.

It ran off and was seen by witnesses attacking and frightening a flock of around 200 sheep in fields formerly used by Canford Magna Golf Club. Some of the flock at the time of the offence were either pregnant or had just given birth to lambs.

Eventually the dog was located and put back on a lead.

PC Claire Dinsdale, of Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: "This case is a clear example of why all dog owners must ensure their dog is on a lead whenever it is near livestock. It is both distressing for the animals concerned and for the farmers who are tending to them.

"It is also important farmers report each incident to us. If a crime is in progress then call 999. Other incidents can be reported online at Dorset Police website ‘Do it Online’ section or by calling 101.

"If members of the public have any information or concerns regarding dogs not under control near livestock, they too should contact police."

Dorset Police supports the Take The Lead campaign and can supply metal-backed signs for farmers to warn dog owners of the dangers. The Rural Crime Team can be contacted to request signs or crime prevention advice at ruralcrimeteam@dorset.pnn.police.uk