Every year, we hear of numerous cases of sheep worrying within the County. Please do take care when out walking with your dog. The main advice given, is keep your dog on a lead in the vicinity of sheep – otherwise, your best friend may end up being shot. Yes, that does happen:
The dog had cornered two sheep between a wall and a tree, as I got closer I saw the blood on the ground. The dog had no collar on and I was unable to catch the dog. I shot the dog with one single shot killing it instantly. I contacted the police and brought the dog back with me. If there were three witnesses why did they not shout at the dog or attempt to catch it. The dog had at least 20 minutes chasing my sheep. They are so traumatised I have been unable to get close to them but two have aborted already.
Last year, 1,200 sheep were killed in dog attacks.
It is a criminal offence for the owner of a dog or a person in control of a dog, to allow it to worry livestock and they are liable for any damages caused. The two main pieces of legislation that govern worrying of livestock are the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and the Animal Act 1971. Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence. This act defines sheep worrying as:
- Aattacking livestock;
- Causing it injury or suffering or, in the case of females, abortion or loss of, or injury to, their offspring through being chased; or
- Not being on a lead or under close control, in a sheep field or enclosure.
A dog owner can be fined a maximum of £1000 for allowing their dog to worry livestock.
If you let your dog roam the countryside, you should be able to recall the dog effectively:
- The three most important commands are sit, stay and recall.
- Use a dog whistle.
- Train your dog in different situations.
- Look out for sheep and signs.
- Teach your dog to ‘leave it’.
- Take a distraction for your dog when out on walks.
Shaun The Sheep: Baaa!