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Dog owners, be livestock aware!
10 July 2015
Dog attacks on sheep are becoming increasingly common when lambs are about, with one farmer recently being forced to shoot dead a black Labrador. It was one of two dogs that had killed three sheep and injured one on farmland adjacent to Ashdown Forest. The dogs were being walked by their owner on the land but ran off and went missing. The farmer had tried to catch the dog but was unable to do so. Unfortunately he had no other choice but to shoot it in order to protect the rest of his sheep.
Sheep were also recently chased across the A22 in Nutley when dogs got loose, an incident that could have endangered motorists as well as sheep.
It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep - this includes both attacking and chasing. Farmers are legally allowed to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep, as long as they have a lawful excuse. Any farmer who shoots a dog must report it within 48 hrs to the police. In this case, Sussex police have said the farmer was legally entitled to shoot the dog. The owners have agreed to compensate the farmer for the loss and injury to the sheep.
It is so important to have your dog under control at all times when in the vicinity of sheep and other livestock. Make sure you put your dog on the lead when walking close to or in fields that contain livestock. Hunting instinct may lead your dog to behave in an unpredictable way and it is far better to be safe than sorry.