Congresbury Parish Council was contacted today (April 30th) by a local landowner to draw attention to an incident over the past few days. The landowner sadly lost one lamb and three ewes when they were viciously attacked by a dog. This incident took place on the field next to the weir in Congresbury.
Dog owners must be aware that it is a criminal offence to allow their dog to worry sheep on agricultural land. Most criminal prosecutions are bought by the police but it is worth noting that farmers, landowners and owners may bring proceedings against the dog owner following an attack.
The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 (“1953 Act”) says that if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the owner and/or the person in charge of the dog is guilty of a criminal offence. Under the 1953 Act the term ‘worrying’ includes attacking livestock; chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to livestock – this can also include abortion or being at large in a field containing sheep.
Furthermore, the 1953 Act enables criminal proceedings to be bought by the police, farmers and owners where there is sufficient evidence to do so.
Please ensure that your dog is on a lead if you walk through a field with livestock and ensure that you keep to the footpath at all times. The Countryside Code available at; The Countryside Code: advice for countryside visitors – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) states that ‘It is good practice wherever you are to keep your dog on a lead around livestock and the fact that a farmer can shoot a dog that is attacking or chasing livestock. They may not be liable to compensate the dog’s owner’.