The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is campaigning for the whole of Wales to have a dedicated police assistance scheme for incidents of livestock worrying.
The union made the call to follow in the footsteps of North Wales Police, which implemented a dedicated rural crime team in 2013.
It comes alongside a push for tougher laws on irresponsible dog owners, including mandatory recording of dog attacks on livestock by all Welsh police forces, changes to limited and outdated fines, and police powers to obtain DNA samples from suspect dogs.
The union also said that failure to report an attack should be an offence.
It was prompted by a lack of response by the police to charge a man more than 10 months after his dog was caught in a field of 40 store lambs on a farm in Glamorgan – after the same dog owner was believed to be responsible for a similar offence the year before.
FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright said: “The only solution to the problem is to tackle dog attacks in the way that North Wales police have, setting up a dedicated unit to police the rural parts of every county.
“As the law stands currently there is very little that can be done to recompense the farmer or ensure that the dog involved is prevented from re-offending, and it is these people we want to target.”
Other proposals by FUW include a change in definition of ‘arable land’ to include attacks when a farmer is moving sheep between fields on a public highway, as well as an extension of the term ‘livestock’ to cover deer, llamas and alpacas.
Recent figures from North Wales police found 89 per cent of all dog attacks on livestock occurred when pets strayed from home, with 449 cases of livestock worrying between 2013 and 2017.
The union said a lack of confidence in police and the legal system was discouraging farmers from reporting incidents.
Farmers Guardian has produced some of its Take The Lead campaign signs with FUW’s logo to give out for free as part of the awareness drive.
Dr Wright added: “Only four main pieces of law cover livestock attacks, all are antiquated and do not fit with current agricultural practices of the seriousness of the offense.
“It appears education alone cannot solve this complex issue.”