Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Llyr Gruffydd has called for Wales to be given the powers to deal with dog attacks on livestock.
Mr Gruffydd’s plea came after he met SNP MSP Emma Harper, who has sponsored a Private Members’ Bill in the Scottish Parliament to tackle the problem.
Ms Harper’s Bill would increase the penalties for dog owners found guilty of livestock worrying and give the police greater powers to investigate and enforce the offence, but at the moment, only the UK Parliament could legislate for Wales in the same way.
Mr Gruffydd said: “Dog attacks on livestock in Wales are a growing problem and there is recent evidence that not enough is being done to tackle it by Welsh forces which are operating on tight budgets with other more pressing demands.
“I met Emma because she is looking at legislation to tackle this problem in Scotland. I would love to be able to do the same here in Wales, but we do not have the powers devolved in this field to do so, and as a result, we have to rely on Westminster to act.
“As things stand, they are rather distracted, so we are unlikely to see any meaningful action in the near future.”
Plaid Cymru’s call for the relevant powers to be devolved to Wales follows a Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) demand for the country to have a dedicated police assistance scheme for livestock worrying.
The union has since thrown its weight behind Mr Gruffydd’s campaign.
Recent figures from North Wales police showed 89 per cent of dog attacks occurred when pets strayed from home, with 449 cases of livestock worrying recorded in the area between 2013 and 2017.
Senior policy officer Hazel Wright said: “The FUW believes introducing new laws will act as a powerful deterrent to prevent dog owners allowing their animals to stray.
“Only four main pieces of law cover livestock attacks. All are antiquated and do not fit with current agricultural practices or the seriousness of the offence.
“It appears education alone cannot solve this complex issue, but hopefully changes in legislation to ensure the seriousness of this offence is understood can give Welsh and English police the powers to properly deal with offenders.”