As another bank holiday approaches, the CLA is urging dog owners to ensure their pets are under complete control around livestock to avoid the risk of sheep being injured or killed during the lambing season.
The association, which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses, says it is more concerned than ever as reports of dog attacks on sheep increase, with many farmers taking to social media with photographic evidence.
Livestock worrying, which can be caused when dogs chase or attack sheep, can have serious effects on animals including stress, injury, abortion and death.
Sheep do not cope well with stressful situations and can even die from shock days after the event. It can also have a devastating impact on the owners with veterinary costs and seeing their animals suffer.
CLA Midlands regional director Mark Riches said: “I would encourage owners to keep their dogs on a lead when walking through livestock and to always stick to public rights of ways. It is the owner’s responsibility to keep their dog under close control, and you should ensure that you know exactly where your dog is at all times.
“We are hearing the same excuses again and again, and the time has come for dog owners to act responsibly or face the consequences. Livestock worrying is a criminal offence, with fine of up to £1,000, as well as financial compensation and the possibility of losing your dog.”
“It is important that every instance of livestock worrying is reported to the police. Where a dog is in the act of worrying livestock and there is, or is likely to be, serious damage to those livestock, call police on 999. Alternatively, dial 101 to report an incident where the dogs are no longer present after an attack or to report problem dog behaviour. Photographs and videos of the worrying incident and/or the damage it caused can be extremely useful.
According to SheepwatchUK, around 15,000 sheep are killed by pet dogs each year.