Dog owners must understand their responsibilities and the law, to prevent livestock being injured and killed during the lambing season.

Young lambs are appearing in the fields as daytime lengthens and dog-walkers take to the countryside.
Ewes and lambs

“So-called livestock worrying, can have serious effects on animals including stress, injury and abortion,” says Charles de Winton from CLA Cymru the body which represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses in Wales

“Sheep do not cope well with stressful situations - and can die from shock - sometimes days after the event. At the same time, as daylight lengthens and temperatures rise, more dog owners take their dogs further afield to the countryside where dogs can run and play. If a dog is seen to be attacking sheep, to protect his livestock and his livelihood, farmers can legally shoot them dead.”

“It is the owner’s responsibility to keep their dog under control and we are also raising awareness about the potential consequences of failing to do so. Livestock worrying is a criminal offence, and a fine of £1,000 can be imposed.”

Charles de Winton says, “Dog owners should always keep their dogs under control when walking through fields of livestock, particularly sheep at this time of year, always stick to public rights of ways – and where vulnerable lambs are present, dog excrement must be removed as a hazard to their health.”

“If you live near land with livestock in it, ensure that you know where your dog is at all times. Make sure your property is secure and check dogs can’t escape at any time.”

“It is also important that every instance of livestock worrying is reported to the police. This will allow for a more accurate picture of the scale of the problem to be built up, and assist the police and Government to determine what resources and powers are required in order to effectively tackle the problem.”

“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.”