North West water company United Utilities has warned dog owners to keep their pets under control near Rivington to avoid risk of canine's being shot.
United Utilities has issued the warning to walkers on its land around Rivington Reservoir after ten sheep were killed at a local farm.
Dan Fowler, land agent at United Utilities, said: "This problem has got significantly worse recently and can be extremely traumatic for the farmer and dog owner involved.
"Extra signs have been put up around Rivington reservoir and our staff and farm tenants will be reporting all offenders to the local police.
“It’s a criminal offence to allow a dog to attack and maim livestock and if found guilty the dog owners could face prosecution and have their dog seized and destroyed.
"Dogs chasing and worrying sheep is an issue across other areas of our estate, it isn’t just limited to the Rivington area.
"If you are walking your dog in the countryside please obey the law and keep your dog under control.”
The dead sheep belonged to its tenant farmer Megan Needham of Higher Knoll Farm.
She’s called on dog walkers to keep their animals on a lead when they’re crossing fields and warned that dogs found worrying sheep may be shot.
“I’m a dog lover myself,” said Megan.
“I’m not telling dog owners to stop walking their dogs in the countryside, I’m just asking them to be respectful when crossing farm fields and put their dogs on a lead as they may not know there are sheep in there.
“The size of the dog has no bearing on the amount of damage they can do. If a ewe that’s carrying a lamb is chased by a dog, they could get so stressed that they abort the lamb or die of shock.”