Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST) is once again calling on dog owners to ensure their pets are kept under control at all times while out walking.
The number of sheep worrying incidents reported across the county have increased in recent weeks.
It is crucial that you keep your dog on a short lead around livestock, even if you can usually trust it to come when called. If you live in or near an agricultural area, you must also make sure that your dog cannot escape from your property as it may find its way onto land containing livestock.
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence.
The act considers sheep worrying to include attacking sheep, chasing them in a way that may cause injury, suffering, abortion or loss of produce, or being at large (i.e. not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.
The act does not require livestock to be killed for this offence to be committed.
Dog owners can also be convicted for ‘allowing their dog to be dangerously out of control’ and in some cases owners have been cautioned or summonsed to court.
The team are also remining people to please be respectful of farm land and crops while out walking, to help protect the livelihood of our local farmers who are working hard to keep the nation fed.
If you see an incident of sheep worrying in progress you should call 999.
If the incident has already happened and is no longer in progress, you can report information online at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in the Force Communications Room via online web chat at herts.police.uk/contact or call the non-emergency number 101.