Dogs could be shot warn police

Worrying time for sheep farmers like shepherd Joan Penty of York after suggestions today (Monday) that sheep may also be infected with BSE the same as cattle. See PA story HEALTH Sheep. EDI Photo John Giles.PA
Worrying time for sheep farmers like shepherd Joan Penty of York after suggestions today (Monday) that sheep may also be infected with BSE the same as cattle. See PA story HEALTH Sheep. EDI Photo John Giles.PA

Police are warning that dogs worrying or attacking livestock could be shot by farmers.

It follows a recent incident in which a farmer, who owns land in the Church Lane area of Hooe, lost several sheep which were killed by out of control dogs.

PC Darren McCann said dog owners need to be more aware that sheep worrying is an offence and that their dogs may well be shot by farmers.

He said: “Even docile dogs at home, are capable of chasing sheep, which may result in a pregnant sheep aborting its lamb or having to be put to sleep as a result of sustained injuries.

“ Livestock are a farmers’ livelihood and dead and injured sheep can cause significant financial loss and great upset.

“We are asking people to please keep your dogs under control at all times.”

The incident at Hooe follows another at Hurst Green in January where police received several reports of sheep worrying.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “At this time of year it’s a particular problem because sheep are in lamb and so there’s a risk that dog worrying could cause them to abort.

“It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep. Worrying includes attacking or chasing sheep and, in some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep.

“If you live in or near a farming area, you must make sure that your dog cannot escape from your property, as it may find its way onto land containing sheep.”

There have been incidents of dogs attacking sheep at Pett where one farmer lost more than 20 sheep in one night.