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Livestock Worrying - Advice for Farmers & Landowners

Other crime, N/A

  • Incident number: N/A
  • Date: 01/02/2019
  • Sender: Natalie Lowe
  • Business area name: Rural & Business Crime

The following advice for farmers & landowners is provided by SHEEPWATCH on how to reduce instances of livestock worrying as we head into early lambing season:

How can you better protect your sheep

1.Support education around keeping dogs on leads near sheep. Maybe put some posters up in your vets. Give a talk in the local school or other community groups. This may be a pain but it will be worth it.

2.Let dog walkers know when they are getting near to sheep so dog walkers can keep their dogs close and not allow them to charge through nearby fields - put signs up 'You are 200 meters from a sheep field'.

3.Let dog walkers know when sheep are in a field that they are about to enter 'Sheep in field - dogs on leads please'.

4.Keep signs up to date. If people keep entering a field that says 'sheep - dogs on leads' and then it is empty, people can become sign blind as they don't know which sign is true and which is out of date. Thus they begin to ignore all signs.

5.Don't forget to put your phone number on the gate so people know who to contact if they see an incident occur or discover injured sheep.

6.Where possible block access under gates.

7.If you see people crossing the land without a dog on a lead or not under proper control near sheep, confront them and let them know you will be informing the police as this is a crime. If it is safe to do so, photograph them and ask for their name and address. This could stop the dog attacking in the future and word soon gets about that you will not tolerate bad dog ownership.

How can farmers can help the police?

Early warnings: For police to intervene early and reduce the likelihood of a livestock attack, it is critical that poorly controlled dogs, dogs which are repeatedly escaping, or dogs trespassing from public footpaths are reported to the police.

The police and local authorities have options for enforcing responsible dog ownership and can also offer advice and help to dog owners.

Report in all cases: Livestock worrying is a crime and must be reported to the police in all cases.

Data from reported incidents create a picture of where incidents are happening; the police can then put in place prevention initiatives, including targeted educational material and signage.

Preserve evidence: Preserve attacked livestock for forensic examination. This can secure key evidence to identify the dogs involved. If it is raining or wet, please cover any carcasses with waterproof material such as tarpaulin, this will enable the police to obtain the best evidence. Take photographs and video (mobiles or a camera) of the attacked livestock, the whole scene as well as detailed close-ups and eartag numbers. If possible, obtain a veterinary examination - expert medical evidence is useful for subsequent prosecutions.

Contacting the police
Dial 999
Dogs worrying livestock is considered an emergency if it is taking place at the time and there is, or likely to be serious damage to livestock, so dial 999. Ask for the police and explain to the operator that there is a dog attacking livestock. To enable your call to be correctly graded, please stress to the operator that there either has been, or will be serious damage to your livestock.

Provide an accurate location and in remote areas please try to provide both OS grid co-ordinates and the location of the nearest road and point of interest. If possible, arrange to meet officers to guide them to the location.

Dial 101
If livestock has been attacked and the dogs have left the location, please use the 101 service. Ask for the relevant police force and explain to the operator what has happened. The operator will give you advice and explain how the force will handle your report.
If you are reporting intelligence on poorly controlled dogs, dogs regularly trespassing on farm land, escaping or being allowed to roam freely - then please either report to the local police via the 101 service or email your local force through the address on their website. Photographs and video footage can be attached to email reports.

What service should you expect from the police?
The police will investigate your report of crime - this may be over the phone or by sending officers depending on the circumstances.

If your report is being handled as an emergency you will be informed of this and officers will be dispatched to the location to identify the dog(s) and owner and investigate the offence.