Keep your dogs on a lead during lambing season

1 Apr 2021 11:18
Published by: Scott Callan

A CALL for dog owners to keep their animals on a lead when close to livestock has been issued ahead of the Easter weekend.

Macclesfield MP David Rutley is urging local dog owners and visitors to make sure they keep their pets under control to avoid sheep worrying.

Having actively worked with the NFU and local farmers on this issue over many years, the MP is actively backing their latest campaign for dogs to be kept on a lead and under control.

On a recent visit to Clough House Farm in Macclesfield Forest, he met with local farmer John Cantrell, and Sgt Rob Simpson of Cheshire Police’s Rural Crime Team to support their call for extra vigilance during the vital lambing season.

During the visit Mr Rutley was told that 50 sheep have already been killed this year in Cheshire from attacks by dogs and two dogs have been put down as a result.

Mr Cantrell explained how sheep worrying not only causes physical harm and stress to his livestock, but also has huge financial consequences through the loss of sheep, increased vet bills for injured livestock and damage to fences and field boundaries.

In total, the NFU has estimated that dog attacks on livestock are costing farmers £1.6million a year.

As Sgt Simpson set out in a recent BBC Crimewatch episode, farmers are increasingly concerned about sheep worrying as we enter the spring season.

During the programme, Sgt Rob Simpson highlighted the vital need for dog owners to act responsibly and keep their dogs on a lead when walking through fields with livestock. This guidance is clearly set out in The Countryside Code.

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on any agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog can be fined up to £1,000 if found guilty.

Speaking after his visit, Mr Rutley said: “Around Macclesfield, dog owners are fortunate to have access to great countryside walks with their dogs.

“It is vital that dogs are kept on a lead around livestock and owners follow recommended guidance to ensure farm animals are kept safe, particularly during lambing season.

“I am very grateful to Sgt Simpson and the Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team for all that they do to help tackle this issue and to protect farmers and our rural communities.”

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