Sheep worrying incident in Moreton-in-Marsh
By Police reporter | 25th April 2023
Dog owners are being reminded to keep their pets under control following a sheep worrying incident in Moreton-in-Marsh, Cotswolds.
Two dogs were seen chasing sheep on farmland on Thursday morning (April 20).
The dogs killed two sheep, two other sheep had to be euthanised due to their injuries and another was injured.
In this case the dog owners have agreed to financially cover the loss, however this incident is a timely reminder of the damage and suffering which can be caused if dogs are off lead around livestock.
You must ensure a field or area has no livestock in it before letting your dog off lead. It is the law to keep your dog under control and the responsibility falls with the owner.
Allowing a dog to worry or attack livestock is a criminal offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.
Sheep represent a farmer's income and are often worth a substantial sum. If they are attacked or killed, the loss that farmers face can leave them substantially out of pocket.
Sheep worrying can include dogs attacking animals physically, running after them or chasing the sheep around, especially when they are carrying lambs or there are young lambs within the flock. Dog faeces left on grazing land may also carry disease which can kill sheep and affect unborn lambs.
Ultimately a landowner by law, and as a last resort for protecting their livestock, is able to shoot a dog which they believe is worrying sheep. However, nobody wants to see this outcome.
When walking dogs in rural areas, dog owners are advised about the following:
• Always ensure your dog is under control in an area where there are livestock or wild animals.
• Be particularly vigilant during lambing season and always keep dogs on a lead during this time.
• If your dog is not good with other animals or people, avoid letting them off their lead when others are around.
• Don't allow people who may not be confident in doing so or have full control over the animal to walk your dog.
• Remember where there may be no livestock in a field one day, the same location could be full of animals the next.
• Ultimately a landowner by law, and as a last resort for protecting their livestock, is able to shoot a dog which they believe is worrying sheep. Police must be notified within 48 hours if this course of action is taken.
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