A shepherd was forced to shoot dead a pet dog after it became out of control and worrying a flock of sheep near Chichester.
According to police, the young Doberman bitch had been let off in a field at North Mundham shortly before dusk on Sunday (January 22) with the owners unaware that sheep were present.
Police added that they tried to get the dog to return and as the shepherd insisted that he must shoot the animal as it had apparently started to maul the sheep, police were called.
According to police, officers persuaded the shepherd to hold off while a concerted effort was made to retrieve the dog, but it was in vain and the shepherd was permitted to take a clear shot, which he did.
Sergeant Tom Carter (pictured) said: “This was desperately sad. The owners are a genuine, responsible couple and had not realised that sheep were in the field.
“However, by the time that this became clear, the dog was out of control and would not respond to commands and couldn’t be caught.
“Police officers attending reluctantly agreed to let the dog be shot after ensuring that it was safe to do so.
“The owners are obviously distraught, but accept that the action taken was necessary and proportionate to the threat that was posed.
“Although no sheep were killed, it will be a while before any effects might be noticed and the owners have agreed to pay compensation for any losses.”
Sergeant Carter added: “We urge people to keep their dogs on a lead while they are walking in rural areas and around livestock.
“So often in these incidents the owners are horrified by what their dogs have done, but they have to accept that even the most docile of pets can quickly turn into a killer given the opportunity.
“Posters will shortly be appearing at popular rural dog walking locations around the county warning about the problems of sheep worrying, which sadly just don’t seem to decrease.
“I do hope that people take notice and we won’t have to see other owners experiencing such a sad event again.”