North Wales Police are ‘finally making headway’ on tasking the Government to change the laws around livestock worrying.
Police in the UK currently have no legal requirement to report livestock attacks – but the North Wales rural crime team (RCT) is working alongside four other rural forces to make the law ‘fit for purpose in 2019’.
Rob Taylor, North Wales RCT, said although farmers had gained more confidence in the team and were beginning to report incidents as they happened, the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 should be scrutinised.
Farmers Guardian has been working with North Wales Police and other key industry stakeholders to toughen up the law as part of its Take the Lead campaign.
The Act is currently not applicable to attacks where incidents occur outside a farmer’s field, for example on roads, and police do not have the power of seizure, the power to obtain DNA or the power to force dog owners whose pets have attacked livestock to report the incident.
Mr Taylor said: “I am a strong believer things do not change until the law comes in. MPs are beginning to realise this is a huge issue for police, for farmers and for dog owners.”
The issue was debated in Westminster last week following Mr Taylor’s objection to Defra’s ‘resolution’ that Section 3 offences of the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) could be applied in the instance of livestock attacks without a person being present.
Mr Taylor, however, said this was not the case and the police were still in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.
He doubted if the DDA could even be used.
It came as the team was forced to deal with another attack when six pregnant ewes were killed by dogs in Cerrigydrudion, Conwy, on Saturday (February 9).
Neil Parish, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, told the Westminster meeting: “It is something we have really got to sort out one way or another as it is a really serious matter.”