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07 May 2016

From the Avon & Somerset Police Website:

Reminder to dog owners following further sheep attacks

Please keep your dogs under control and remember to follow the “Country Code”. That’s the message we are reiterating this weekend.

With a weekend of good weather forecast lots of people are likely to enjoy country walks over the next two days. But with lambing season in full swing and more cases of sheep worrying this week, we are appealing to the public to keep their dogs under control.

PC Katy Drabble from the Rural Crime Team said: “Sadly this week we have seen further cases of sheep worrying.  That term doesn’t always reflect the devastation caused in some cases.

“Last month nearly 40 sheep were killed or died as a result of two dog attacks and this week we have seen sheep mauled by a dog near Cheddar, sheep chased into a river near Yeovil and sheep chased by children at Glastonbury Tor.

“Sheep are highly-strung animals and in lambing season any stress caused to a pregnant ewe can cause them to lose their lambs.”

The NFU Mutual estimated that over 18,500 livestock were killed or injured in dog attacks in 2015. The cost of this to farmers was estimated at £1.1m – a rise of 35% on the previous year.

As well as being costly to the farmer, these often fatal attacks are extremely upsetting for those dealing with the aftermath.

PC Drabble added: “We know dog owners love to stroll in the countryside with their pets but we cannot stress enough how important it is to be aware of your surroundings.

“Even if you think your dog is placid and friendly, when faced with a field full of livestock they can be unpredictable. It’s simply not worth taking the risk – keep your dog on a lead and away from livestock.

“If your dog is  found to be responsible for sheep worrying then as its owner you could find yourself with a large vets bill, prosecution and the strong possibility of your dog being destroyed as a result. We don't want that to happen, we don't want anyone to lose a much loved family pet, so please keep them on the lead."

Please consider your actions as a responsible dog owner when out and about enjoying the countryside:-

Always check for livestock in fields when walking your dog/s.

Always make sure you shut gates behind you.

When in fields with livestock, it is vital that your dog/s are kept on a lead and under control at all times.  The only time you should release your dog is in the event of being chased by cattle.  By restraining the dog in this circumstance you are putting yourself at risk of being injured by the cattle.

If you live near livestock and own a dog/s make sure that your property and garden are secure so your pets cannot escape.