Scale of attacks on livestock revealed

A report by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) highlights the challenges faced by police forces in supporting farmers to deal with the issue of dog attacks on livestock.

As the law stands, dog owners are not obliged to make a report to the police if their dog attacks any livestock, and attacks are not treated as a “recordable crime” on police systems.

A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare estimated that about 15,000 sheep alone were killed by dogs in 2016, putting the cost to the farming sector at about £1.3 million.

Over the last year, five police forces, including North Yorkshire, have been taking part in an initiative to look at the true extent of livestock worrying in the countryside.

The forces analysed data on their systems from 2013 to 2017. Their findings included that there were 1,705 recorded incidents of livestock worrying and attacks in the five force areas, with 1,928 animals killed and 1,614 injured.

Lord Gardiner, minister for animal welfare, said: “Livestock worrying is distressing for farmers and animals and can have serious financial repercussions. The report makes a number of recommendations and proposals for improvements to the legislation which I will be looking at closely.”

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