Source: Agriland (Extract)
Posted: February 6, 2024

The president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has urged dog owners to keep their dogs under “close control” as lambing season approaches.

Victoria Vyvyan issued the warning to dog owners as she welcomed news of the UK government backing new legislation to give police greater powers to respond to livestock worrying.

“The CLA has long lobbied for greater powers for police to tackle livestock worrying and welcomes this announcement,” she said.

“Attacks on livestock cause great distress to farmers and threaten their livelihood.”

“Farm animals worth £1 million were killed or injured by dogs in 2022, a 50% increase since 2019.

“As lambing season approaches, the CLA is telling dog owners that they must keep their dogs under close control, especially near livestock, and to stick to public rights of way. If you see an incident, please report it to the police.”

Livestock worrying

On Friday (February 2), the UK government announced that it was backing new legislation that would give police the ability and power to respond to livestock worrying incidents more effectively.

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill, police will have more power to collect evidence and, in more serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further livestock attacks.

The bill would modernise existing legislation to ensure it remains fit for purpose, including extending the livestock definition to include alpacas and llamas and widening locations where enforcement can be taken to roads and paths.

Police would also have the power to take evidence samples from livestock and dogs to help investigate these crimes.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said livestock worrying has a “devastating impact” and causes distress to farmers and their animals as well as financial implications.

“This bill will crack down on this issue, widening the scope to protect more farm animals covered by law and giving police more powers to act,” he said.

“We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”