Livestock worrying: Police urge owners to keep their dogs on a lead as even the 'most obedient' pets can worry livestock
Police are warning pet owners to keep their dogs on a lead when in the countryside as ‘even the most loving, obedient family pet’ can worry livestock.
Worrying livestock is when an animal, such as a pet dog, attacks or chases farm animals in a way which may result in injury or suffering.
In the case of females, this suffering can include abortion, and loss of or diminution in their produce.
Actions are classed as worrying regardless of whether or not the pet makes physical contact with the livestock.
If a dog worries livestock on any agricultural land, its owner, and anyone else who is in charge of the dog, is guilty of an offence.
You can be prosecuted, fined and ordered to pay compensation under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.
Livestock refers to all farming animals, not just cattle, including; sheep, goats, pigs, horses and poultry.
A landowner is permitted to shoot your dog if it can be proved that the action was necessary to protect livestock.
One such incident occurred last month in Fife, when a farmer shot and killed a family’s puppy after it entered a sheep field.
A family member of the owner of the one-year-old Spaniel took to social media urging people to keep their dogs on a lead to avoid similar instances.
If your animal is off the lead in the countryside and you lose track of it, you should contact police and notify the nearest farm.
Likewise, if you see livestock worrying occurring you should take similar actions and contact the police.