Keep your dogs under control

The CLA Midlands are urging the public to keep their dogs under control around livestock
Keep your dog under control whilst visiting the countryside

It’s that time of year when the days become longer and lighter and we all want to make the most of the great British outdoors. This usually involves taking our four legged friends for a much deserved walk along footpaths and across fields.

Unfortunately, incidents of livestock worrying are again on the rise and the CLA Midlands team is urging dog owners to keep their dogs under close control around livestock, particularly lambing sheep.

The CLA Midlands which supports farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire is offering advice to dog owners to help avoid issues this season.

The definition of livestock worrying is attacking or chasing sheep which can cause serious harm to the animal. Stress caused by fleeing from dogs can cause pregnant ewes to abort lambs, injury to the animal and in some cases the death of the animal, which can occur days after the attack. Livestock worrying is a criminal offence.

So what is best practice when out walking with your dog?

We would urge members of the public to stick to the Dog Walking Code as well as the Countryside Code.

It is a dog’s instinct to chase even if they are usually obedient, so keep your dogs on a lead or under close control when walking through or near fields of livestock.

Ensure that you stick to public rights of way and be aware of any livestock grazing in fields that you may have to cross. We would also encourage any dog mess to be removed and taken with you as farm animals can be susceptible to Neosporosis, a disease which can cause cattle and sheep to abort early.

If you are walking through cattle and they begin to follow or chase, for your own safety you should let go of your dog and exit the field. Your dog will find its way back to you.

Some cases have been reported when a dog has escaped from a garden or home, so ensure that your perimeter if well fenced and secure if you live in a rural area where there are livestock grazing.

All instances of dog worrying should be reported to the police, this helps them keep a true record of the cases of livestock worrying and allows them to tackle the issue effectively. If you witness livestock worrying, you can call the police on 999 to report it. If the dog has left the scene of the attack, you can call 101.

You can find out further information about livestock and public access here

You can find out further information about livestock and public access in our Guidance note here.

Find out more about the Countryside Code here.