08 December 2017
Officers are reminding pet owners to ensure they keep their dogs away from livestock following a spate of sheep worrying incidents across Dorset.
Dorset Police has received six reports of sheep worrying since Thursday 30 November 2017, including two separate incidents at Badbury Rings and one at Ringstead, Poundbury, Lulworth and Sherborne.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, of Dorset Police’s Rural Crime Team, said: “Over the last few weeks across Dorset there has been an increase in reports of livestock worrying and attacks on sheep caused by dogs. These dogs have not been on leads or under close control."
During some of the incidents, sheep have been chased and some have received horrific injuries. Sadly, some of the sheep had to be put down.
Additionally, there is a large economic cost to every sheep injured or killed. There is also the danger that pregnant ewes may also abort the lamb.
Livestock worrying is a criminal offence under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 and does not require an animal to be injured. Allowing a dog to be off a lead or otherwise not under close control in a field or enclosure of sheep is an offence.
The penalty for livestock worrying can be six months' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £1,000.
Police Constable Dinsdale continued: “We would ask all dog owners to ensure their dog is on a lead whenever it is near livestock. At this time of year farmers may move livestock between fields so be extremely mindful to check.
"It is also important farmers report each incident to us. If a crime is in progress then call 999. Other incidents can be reported online at Dorset Police website ‘Do it Online’ section or by calling 101.
"If members of the public have any information or concerns regards dogs not under control near livestock, they too should contact police. Recent reports by the public have led to the dog owner being identified, in particular capturing vehicle registrations. Anyone with information can also contact Crimestoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous."
Dorset Police support the Take The Lead campaign and can supply metal-backed signs for farmers to warn dog owners of the dangers. The Rural Crime Team can be contacted to request signs or crime prevention advice at RuralCrimeTeam@dorset.pnn.police.uk. This email address is not to be used to report crimes or incidents.
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