Keep dogs under control


Keep dogs under control


Where there is livestock around, keep your dog on a lead at all times

Keep dogs under control 

Keep Dogs Under Control


In 2012 there were 739 reported incidents of dogs attacking sheep, estimated to cost the farming industry £1.2m. Aside from the cost, such attacks are preventable and can only do damage between the relationship of farmers and the walking public.


The shocking image opposite was posted to Facebook by Pete Webster, a farmer near to Windermere in the Lake District, and it is the result of a dog attack on lambs. 6 were killed by dog bites and 2 more had to be shot because of their injuries.

Read the full story in the Farmers' Guardian

It is an offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 for a dog:

  • to attack livestock
  • to chase livestock in such a way as to cause suffering, including abortion of foetus
  • being at large in a field or enclosure where there are sheep

The latter point the one of concern for walkers, as a dog merely being off a lead in the presence of livestock could constitute an offence, for which the owner or person in charge of the dog could be liable to a fine of up-to £1,000. Responsible dog owners will always have their dog under control and recognise that, at the end of the day, a dog's domestic behaviour and traits can change instantly when there are sheep around.

sheep worrying - keep dogs on a lead when livestock around
(Image Pete Webster)


In certain circumstances, a farmer can legitimately shoot your dog if off a lead in the presence of livestock.

The Countryside Code states that dogs should be under effective control, and even on land designated as Open Access Land (England & Wales) or Scottish Outdoor Access Code there is a requirement to keep dogs on a lead where there livestock are present. And let's face it, when your dog runs 300 metres ahead, it may find the livestock before you know it's there.

The only sensible option is to keep your dog on a lead at all times.


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Title image courtesy of Farmers Weekly