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Police warning after dogs shot for worrying sheep

Update 19/2/17 – Shropshire Star, Several sheep killed in Shropshire fields. Six sheep have been attacked on a farm near Cheswardine. Don’t let it happen in Hodnet!

Please Keep Me On A LeadThis week West Mercia Police have reminded dog owners of their responsibility to keep their pets under control when walking near livestock. The warning comes after 5 dogs were shot and killed by farmers in two separate incidents which took place last Thursday and Friday (19 & 20 Jan 17). During the incidents sheep and their unborn lambs were killed.

In the item on the WMP website, PC Mike Barnett, dog legislation officer for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, stated:

“We are at the very beginning of lambing season and we are already starting to have problems with dogs. Farmers are within their rights to shoot dogs worrying sheep on their land.

“To lose sheep and unborn lambs has a big effect on farmers’ livelihoods. To lose a loved pet causes huge upset for dog owners too.

“All it takes to avoid this distress is to keep dogs on leads and make sure they cannot get out and run loose.”

Countryside Code CoverLast spring we reminded local residents that The Countryside Code states that it is good practice to keep dogs on leads when walking them near farm animals, especially pregnant ewes (here). The post also mentioned the UK’s worst sheep-worrying incident in living memory which took place just a few days earlier when more than one hundred sheep were killed by dogs. Recently, on 22 Jan. the Farmers Guardian carried a report on their website headlined, “Loose dogs responsible for 15,000 sheep deaths in 2016“.

West Mercia Police encourage farmers to contact them about getting signage to put up on their properties through their local Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Contact details for the Market Drayton Team can be found here. Alternatively download (PDF file) and print your own copies of the “Please Keep Me On A Lead” poster pictured above.

Information about relevant legislation and the Animals Act 1971 is available on the WMP website – Livestock and worrying dogs in the countryside.

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