Breaking KENT Maidstone

Dog owners are reminded to take responsibility for their pets after recent attacks on sheep near Dover and Maidstone

Over the past week there have been three reported incidents of sheep worrying, including one near Elms Vale Road, Farthingloe where three sheep were injured on Saturday 6 February 2021.

 

Officers attended the scene where the owners of the dog were contacted. Enquiries into the report are ongoing.

 

Further incidents were reported two days later when sheep were injured by dogs in a field near Vale Road, Loose. Enquiries are continuing to identify the dogs and their owners.

 

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of the Rural Task Force said: ‘These are particularly nasty incidents as we approach the lambing season and a number of pregnant sheep have suffered serious injuries. As well as the injuries from the attacks, whole flocks can become distressed and farmers have to arrange the attendance of vets at considerable expense.

 

‘This is why we always urge owners to keep pets under control around any livestock. It is important to also remember that that farmers are within their rights to sometimes shoot dogs, if they are deemed to be worrying sheep.

 

‘As a person in charge of a dog, you could be committing an offence if it worries livestock on agricultural land. If an offence is proved the dog owner or person in charge could be liable for damages and compensation.’

 

Advice:

 

Under the Animals Act 1971, a person acting to protect livestock may be able to kill or injure a dog that they reasonably believes is `worrying’ without incurring any criminal or civil liability.

 

As a dog owner or a person for the time being in charge of a dog, you could be committing an offence if your pet worries livestock on agricultural land.

 

Worrying includes attacking or chasing livestock in a way that might reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or loss.

 

It can also be an offence to have a dog in a field or enclosed space where there are sheep when the dog is not on a lead or under close control.