Wiltshire Publications

Warning to dog owners after sheep killed in Westbury

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 at 10:15 am.

DOGowners are being encouraged to be more responsible around livestock after incidents of livestock worrying that have left sheep dead or badly injured, in the area.

Earlier this month on the Spotted Westbury Facebook page it was reported that a sheep in the field behind the White Horse Health Centre had been attacked and killed by a dog. “This morning I was out enjoying my long walk with my dog. As I approached, via the public footpath, the field at the back of the doctors’ surgery I was greeted by a very angry and distraught farmer. One of his sheep had just been attacked by a dog, sadly he was unable to save it,” said an angry Westbury local.

Later that day after the dog owner had come forward to accept responsibility for the incident, the farmer of the sheep posted a message on Facebook saying “They were extremely upset and disturbed, and struggled to believe that their dog could have done this, and now understand the severity of what can happen. I have to commend the owners for coming forward and accepting responsibility as this can’t have been easy. It would have been easier to remain in silence as many have done before. I urge people to be vigilant and to keep dogs on a short lead and stick to designated public footpaths. I now consider this nasty episode closed.”

With reports of more incidents of livestock worrying in the area, Wiltshire Police have issued a warning to the public. PC Emily Thomas said, “Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and has a significant financial and emotional impact on farmers. It can be distressing and worrying for farmers to see their animals worried or injured.

“It is dog owners’ responsibility to ensure they have control of their dogs at all times. If people are out using the public rights of way with a dog, use a bit of common sense. Use a lead if there is livestock around and don’t deviate from the public byways and foot-ways, as potentially you could be trespassing into private land.”

Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and the penalty can be 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £1,000. Livestock worrying is traditionally thought of as a dog biting or attacking livestock, but it also means chasing livestock in such a way as may be reasonably expected to cause injury or suffering; in the case of ewes, this includes abortion or loss or reduction in the number of offspring she has

It also covers not having a dog on a lead or under close control when close by, or in a field or enclosure with livestock.

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