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Warning to dog owners as lambing season begins

Dorset Police are warning owners to keep their dogs on leads when walking them near to livestock after incidents of sheep worrying have been reported in the Wimborne and Weymouth areas.

Now that lambing season has started Dorset Police are releasing posters with graphic images of a sheep that had been injured by a dog.

The images are hoped to shock dog owners into realising the seriousness of sheep worrying and to keep their dogs on leads and under control when walking through sheep fields.

Sheep worrying is a criminal offence and land owners can legally shoot a dog if they believe that their livestock is at risk under the Countryside Right of Way Act & Criminal Damage Act 1971.

Police Constable Rob Hammond, Dorset Police Wildlife Crime Officer, said: “I would urge anyone out walking to be aware of nearby livestock and to keep their dog on its lead.

“At this time of year the ewes are close to, or about to, give birth and any stress could have a major impact on the welfare of the animal which in turn could cause financial loss to the farmer.”

Rural Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT's) will be distributing the posters across Dorset to raise the awareness of sheep worrying to local dog owners.

Should farmers or landowners need any more information or wish to report such activity then they can contact their local SNT via 101.

Issued: 20 March 2015