Cumbria Police is renewing its plea to dog owners to keep their dogs under control when walking in the countryside.
There have already been 33 incidents of sheep worrying across the county – which includes attacking or chasing livestock - with 9 in April alone.
Wildlife Officer Sarah Rolland said: “This is a very serious issue that can lead to significant consequences for sheep and therefore farmers, who depend on these animals for their income.
“It is frustrating and sad to see that this keeps happening, when it is so easily prevented. Owners are urged to simply keep their dogs under control and on a lead, and just because a field may be empty one day, it does not mean that it will not be full of animals the next. Always exercise caution.
“A dog does not have to physically attack livestock to cause harm – even chasing them can cause distress and easily cause a pregnant sheep to miscarry lambs.
“Owners must also remember that farmers are within their rights to shoot a dog that is worrying sheep on their land, and this will obviously cause huge distress.
We have 1,000s of livestock worrying signs which you can nail to gateposts or fenceposts near footpaths to highlight the problem to walkers.
If you would like some of these signs, please send a stamped, self-addressed A4 envelope to
FG Take the Lead, Farmers Guardian,
Unit 4, Fulwood Business Park,
You will need at least three First Class or Second Class stamps on to cover postage costs. We will be able send up to 25 signs.
“We will continue to take a proactive approach and positive action against those that allow the offence to occur, and appreciate any information from members of the public which could help us identify those responsible for these crimes.”
Police have the power to seize a dog to prevent worrying, and an owner can be fined up to £1,000 for the offence.
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “It is disappointing that some dog owners are still not taking responsibility for their dogs, as the number of these incidents demonstrate.
“People need to understand that the worrying of livestock can have devastating consequences for farm and animals and for farmers and their businesses and the police will take action where dog owners fail to act responsibly.”
Farmers Guardian is taking the lead by raising awareness among the British public about livestock worrying and speaking up for our readers’ concerns.