‘Livestock worrying is a criminal offence’ – Dog owners warned to stop attacks during lambing season

PUBLISHED: 11:24 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:24 19 March 2019

A sheep recovering after being attacked by a dog in Attleborough. Photo: Bill Smith

A sheep recovering after being attacked by a dog in Attleborough. Photo: Bill Smith


Rural business leaders have urged dog owners to keep their pets under control to stop sheep being injured and killed during East Anglia’s lambing season.

Spring is a peak time for livestock worrying, when dogs chase or attack sheep causing stress, injury and death.

The CLA (Country Land and Business Association) says 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 farmers left to cope with veterinary bills and seeing their animals suffer from the ordeal.

So CLA East, which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, has appealed to dog owners to be aware of the risks, and to take necessary precautions.

READ MORE: Dog owners must do more to stop their pets savaging lambs, says sheep farmer

Regional director Ben Underwood said: “We would advise owners to keep their dogs on a lead or under close control when walking through fields of livestock, particularly sheep at this time of year, and to always stick to public rights of ways.

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

“It is the owner’s responsibility to keep their dog under control and we are also raising awareness about the potential consequences of not doing so. “Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and a fine can be handed out.

READ MORE: Dogs escaping from gardens add to ‘devastating’ cost of attacks on farm animals

“It is 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.”

• The CLA says if a dog is seen worrying livestock and there is likely to be serious damage to those animals, then 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.

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