National Animal Welfare Trust believes that no responsible dog owner wants their pet to harm or kill livestock and yet seemingly innocent family pets are capable of chasing, injuring or killing livestock as news reports reveal.
This week we are sharing advice tips and real-life stories to help you ensure you keep both your dog and livestock safe.
It is a criminal offence for a dog to worry livestock, that is where a dog barks, chases or bites a farm animal. Livestock worrying is believed to happen more frequently than is currently reported.
And yet it remains a problem. Sheepwatch
, a campaigning organisation set up to try to solve the problem, reported 2,474 deaths of sheep in 2017, among them 408 pregnant ewes, but since the crime is likely to be underreported nationally, it is believed the figure could be as high as 15,000 sheep annually. In its 2018 rural crime survey, the National Farmers Union reports dog attacks on livestock are estimated to cost £1.6m a year
While some livestock attacks happen with an owner is present or nearby, a large number of reported incidents are by dogs running free, suggesting those dogs have escaped from gardens or yards.
Aside from the unnecessary suffering caused to livestock and the financial cost, many dog owners are unaware of the risks to their dog should it attack a farmer’s sheep. Your dog could be shot if it cannot be brought under control. Between 2013-2017, five police units across the UK reported 92 dogs were killed for livestock worrying.
The peak times for livestock worrying are during the lambing season of January to March however attacks can happen at other times too.