Dog owners – know your responsibilities!

It’s nearly that time again when our fields are graced with playful lambs, yet, sadly we still hear of a number of livestock worrying cases, and sheep are injured or killed by out of control dogs.


The Countryside & Right of Way Act places responsibility on dog owners to keep a fixed lead of 2 metres whilst on open access land, and the owners are guilty of an offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 if any of the following occur:


(a) attacking livestock, or

(b) chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce.


(c) being at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep


Failure to comply can lead to a fine, but more importantly it has drastic consequences on the farm business and livestock involved.  The impact of dog worrying extends way beyond financial loss to farmers and has adverse effects on their livelihood.


The majority of farm policies do not automatically include worrying cover under the livestock section, so please check with your advisor if you would benefit from this extension.


To many this will seem an obvious reminder, but it’s an important one.


Please think when enjoying our countryside.