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Farmers and police warning of devastating consequences of dog attacks on livestock

Last modified: 25 May 2021 at 02:07pm

Police are highlighting the devastating impact of dog attacks on livestock as they urge owners to take responsibility for their pets.

As more people are visiting the countryside to walk their dogs, North Yorkshire Police have been supplying stocks of warning posters to farmers to put up on gates and near livestock fields.

Officers from rural Neighbourhood Policing Teams, and the force’s Rural Task Force, have also been talking to dog walkers in areas where livestock worrying has occurred, to ensure everyone understands the importance of keeping dogs on leads and under control. Where appropriate, dog walkers are shown photographs which demonstrate the terrible injuries a dog can inflict on a sheep.

Police and farmers are warning of the devastating consequence of dog attacks on livestock

PCSO Andy Birkinshaw of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force said: “Farmers, vets and police colleagues know all too well the horrific injuries sheep can suffer as a result of dog attacks. It’s a horrible thing to witness, but it can be avoided simply by dog owners taking responsibility for their pets.”

North Yorkshire farmer Stuart Raw said: “I’ve had sheep which have been torn to bits and left alive, and they have gaping wounds all over their body from dogs. I panic every weekend, going to the farm and finding people with dogs tearing round the sheep.”

PC Mark Atkinson, from the Rural Task Force, said: “Any dog, no matter how well behaved, can get out of control when off the lead around livestock. It just isn’t worth the risk. The dog owner may find themselves prosecuted for criminal damage, and tragically the dog itself may lose its life, due to the negligence of its owner.

“Livestock worrying doesn’t just include sheep and limbs being bitten – when a dog chases a sheep around a field, ewes may abort their lambs, or they may die due to a crush, or the stress.

“The answer to all this is simple – keep your dog on a lead, and under control, anywhere near livestock.”

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