Cheshire East is calling on dog owners to ‘get a grip’ and ensure their pets don’t harm livestock and nesting birds.
Dogs worrying and attacking livestock is a serious problem, having a major emotional and financial impact on all involved. Many attacks occur during the lambing season and during nesting time. It is vital that dogs are kept on leads – especially during these times.
Cheshire East Council animal health and welfare team, Cheshire police and the countryside rangers have launched a joint campaign to reduce incidents in the borough.
They have drawn up a checklist of dos and don’ts. For dog owners these include:
● Your dog should never be unaccompanied outside of your home. Many incidents of
worrying and attacks occur when owners are not present;
● You have a legal responsibility to ensure your dog is secure and cannot escape and
● Consider using alternative routes away from livestock, where possible;
● Keep your dog on a lead in enclosures containing livestock (walkers are advised to release their dogs however if threatened by cattle, so that they can get to safety separately); and
●Pick up after your dog and dispose of faeces responsibly – in a bin or take it home for disposal. Dog faeces contain parasites that are harmful to sheep and cattle.
● Display notices that advise dog walkers of livestock in fields and ask the public to keep
livestock safe by keeping their dogs on leads;
● Ensure notices are up to date and removed if not required;
● Report all incidents of livestock worrying and attacks to the police by ringing 101.
Mark Palethorpe, Cheshire East Council executive director of people, said: “Dog owners have a duty to be responsible, considerate and obey the law regarding their pets. I would remind everyone that it is a criminal offence for an owner or person in charge of a dog to allow it to worry livestock.
“The majority of pet owners are responsible – but all should be aware that, as a last resort, a landowner or someone acting on their behalf, has the legal right to shoot a dog to protect their property, under the Animals Act 1971.
“Please keep your dog on a lead, where livestock is grazing or there could be a threat to ground-nesting birds. Any dog, regardless of breed, has the potential to chase and worry livestock. Do not let it be your dog.”
If you allow a dog to worry livestock you may be prosecuted or fined and ordered to pay compensation.
For more information on this issue visit: www.gov.uk/control-dog-public