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Keep safe during lambing season
5 March 2017
Lambing season is now underway and as spring approaches, more dog owners will be heading for the countryside to exercise their pets. During this time, it’s important to remember the dangers associated with sheep worrying.
Please follow the guidelines below:
- Keep to footpaths.
- Keep your dog close, under control, and on a short lead around sheep.
- Remember cows and sheep can be protective of their young. Never get between them.
- For the health of your pet and farm animals, do not allow your dog to get into water troughs.
- Ensure that you follow your vet’s advice on worming.
- The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 says that if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the owner and/or the person in charge of the dogs is guilty of a criminal offence and may be fined up to £1,000.
- Under section 9 of the Animals Act 1971, a farmer can legally shoot a dog that is worrying sheep.
Sheep can become stressed even if it doesn’t seem like a dog is being aggressive or attacking. Being chased by dogs can cause pregnant ewes to miscarry, so it’s important to be aware of the risks even if lambs aren’t present at the time.
Please continue to enjoy countryside walks with your dog – but be mindful that the hunting instinct may lead your dog to behave in an unpredictable way and it is far better to be safe than sorry.