Sleaford police have warned dog owners to keep contgrol of their dogs around livestock after incidents on farmland.
Officers posted their warning on social media, saying: “In the last week in the Sleaford area there have been two incidents where out of control dogs have attacked sheep.
“It is the dog owner’s responsibility to make sure your dogs are under control, you risk having your dog shot and being prosecuted if they are a danger to livestock.”
According to the law, when on any enclosed land with sheep all dogs must be on a lead or ‘under close control’.
If you allow your dog to worry livestock you can be prosecuted and fined, ordered to pay compensation and even have the dog destroyed. Worrying livestock means attacking or chasing any farm animal or poultry - there does not have to be any contact. The landowner is not liable to compensate the dog’s owner in such circumstances.
According to DEFRA “The dog must have been attacking or chasing livestock in such a way that it could reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or, in the case of females, abortion or the loss or diminution of their produce.”
Under the law farmers are permitted to shoot dogs that are worrying, or are about to worry, farm animals. Any dog which is not a working dog can be regarded as worrying livestock merely by being off lead and not under close control in a field or enclosure where there are sheep. A landowner could shoot such a dog, if it can be proved that the action was necessary to protect livestock and that it was reported to the police within 48 hours.