The National Trust is asking dog owners to keep their dogs under close control on the South Downs, following an incident where a pony had to be put down after being chased by a dog last weekend.
National Trust head warden Charlie Cain said: “At Cissbury Ring a small herd of New Forest ponies help us look after this special place by grazing to keep the scrub at bay.
“The flower-rich grassland typical of the South Downs owes its very existence to the age-old tradition of livestock grazing. Cissbury Ring is a site of special scientific interest for wildlife and a stunningly important site for archaeology, needing careful management.
“The New Forest pony is an ideal breed to use for conservation. The ponies are intelligent, resourceful and calm around members of the public. Since the ponies arrived in December they have done an amazing job in improving the habitat and are popular with members of the public.”
On Saturday (April 22), one of the ponies on Cissbury Ring was chased by a dog, causing it leg injuries.
The pony had to be put down as a result.
Mr Cain added: “We are saddened to confirm that over the weekend a pony, belonging to our grazier at Cissbury Ring, was chased by a dog and broke its back leg. The right and humane thing to do was to put the pony down. The decision was taken with an RSPCA adviser and equine vet.
“In this case the dog ran across from an adjacent field. If you are unsure as to whether your dog will chase livestock we ask you to please keep them on a lead.”
Video supplied by the National Trust.