National Sheep Worrying Week

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What is sheep worrying?

Sheep worrying is when a dog chases, attacks, or causes distress to livestock, which results in significant injury to the sheep, or death of the animal involved. Not only does this cause extreme stress to the animal, but also comes at a cost tothe farmer who owns the sheep.

In February the Government announced that tougher powers will be put in place to tackle livestock worrying, backing for new legislation. The National Sheep Association warns that not only is it an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep, but that farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep. Crimestoppers are also supporting the campaign, by warning that sheep worrying is a criminal offence that can lead to fines of up to £1,000.1

The Countryside Alliance have pulled together some advice on what you can do as a dog owner, to reduce the risk of sheep worrying2-

• If you’re walking in rural areas, keep your dog on a lead at all time – especially if there are grazing sheep about.

• Keep a check on fences and gates in order to keep your garden as secure as possible to prevent dogs getting out.

• Seek a dog trainer to teach your dog how to behave around sheep and other livestock.

• Having your dog’s favourite toy or ball or ‘high value’ treats with you when you go out may also make it easier to divert their attention away from sheep and other livestock.

The countryside is there for all to enjoy, but it is also our responsibility to take care of it. Make sure you play you part.

1 Sheep worrying: 5 things that dog owners should do | Crimestoppers (

2 Sheep Worrying (