A man has been convicted of allowing dog(s) to worry livestock, sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge, a collection order and ordered to pay compensation and fines amounting to £544.73.
The dog owner appeared before court following an investigation into an incident of sheep worrying, which took place in the Shipston on Stour area of South Warwickshire in August 2021.
The incident involved two large dogs that had escaped from their “insecure” garden into a nearby farmer’s field.
The court heard that the farmer was using the field to graze 300 ewes at the time.
A spokesperson for Warwickshire Rural Crime Team said that when the farmer arrived, he was met by “utter chaos”.
“The two dogs were in the act of chasing all the sheep around the field, knocking them over and attacking them indiscriminately.”
The spokesperson said the farm took “quick” action to secure the two loose dogs, who were clearly not under “any sort of owner control”.
During this incident, one of the ewes, despite the “best efforts” of the farmer and immediate medical treatment, died from the shock of being chased by the dogs.
RCT officers arrived on the scene shortly after. They took possession of the two dogs and set about locating the owner.
The team later interviewed the dog owner, and they “fully” admitted the offence.
Dog owners: Your responsibilities
With lambing season in full swing, police reiterated the following advice to dog owners:
- Be vigilant during lambing season and always keep your dogs on a lead. Avoid any fields with livestock where possible;
- Always ensure your dog is under control in an area where there are livestock or wild animals;
- If you are letting your dog off the lead, be confident that there are no livestock nearby. Ensure that you have sufficient methods to recall your dog in circumstances where they run off. If you are in any doubt, do not let the dog off the lead;
- If your dogs have access to outdoor space, at home, unaccompanied, ensure that all fences and boundaries are secure.
Shoot a dog
Ultimately, the spokesperson added, a landowner, by law, (as a last resort for protecting their livestock) can shoot a dog that they believe is in the process of worrying sheep or livestock.
“You must notify police within 48 hours if you take this course of action. However, we know that no landowner or farmer wants to be in that difficult position.”
“Ultimately, the dog owner is responsible for their dog’s actions, and Warwickshire Police take all reports very seriously,” they concluded.