Sheep worrying occurs when a dog is either chasing or worrying a sheep to the point where it is reasonably expected that the sheep will endure suffering or injury.

Key Facts

  • More than 1,800 farm animals have been killed by dog attacks in the past four years.
  • 92 dogs have been shot as a result of sheep worrying between 2013 and 2017.
  • The cost of sheep worrying claims in 2017 amounted to £1.6 million for NFU Mutual, alone.
  • Increased housing in rural areas means the chances of attacks have increased rapidly.
  • Sheep worrying can cause ewes to miscarry and lambs to be separated from their mothers.
  • Reports of sheep worrying rose 67% between the years of 2015 and 2017.
  • In 79% of cases, the owner of the dog was not present.

What to do if it happens to you

  • Divert or restrict footpaths during lambing season.
  • Report any and all attacks to the police, no matter how small.
  • Put signs up advising dog owners of any livestock that might be in fields.
  • Consider adding a contact number to these signs for reporting any incidents.
  • Social media has become a tool for raising awareness and showing the real damage sheep worrying causes. Share your stories on social media and join community pages so your local area can be informed.

What's being done?

  • Police and farming organisations are pushing for a review of the laws around the definition of livestock, the Dangerous Dog Act, and other legislation surrounding the problem to make it a more prosecutable offence. 
  • Communities are coming together and forming campaigns such as 'Lead The Way' which aims to challenge the law and tackle the problem head on.
  • A push for dog attacks on livestock to be made a recordable crime. 
  • Trialling the use of DNA as a tool to identify offending dogs.

 

If this has happened to you, get in contact. Email us at policy@countryside-alliance.org or call us on 020 7840 9200

 

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