THE leader of Torridge District Council has defended the council's attempts to protect the sheep on the Burrows.
Councillor Philip Collins said: "Torridge District Council and the Burrows rangers with the animal welfare officer have been working with Northam Town Council, local youth groups and the police over a number of years trying to tackle the problem of sheep worrying on Northam Burrows.
"Irresponsible dog owners have been successfully prosecuted in the past, and we will continue to take instances of sheep worrying very seriously in the future.
"We aim to give the town council more powers so that they too can issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to deal with offenders.
"We have also run awareness programmes with police officers on the entrance gates talking to dog owners and providing information leaflets about keeping their dogs under control; and in addition we have conducted home visits in order to educate people who have let their dogs become out of control.
"Livestock is an integral part of the Burrows and its ecology and it would be unfortunate to see some removed."
Northam Town Council declined to comment on the matter as it said officers and councillors were dealing with unresolved matters with Mr Withecombe.