FG Sheep Worrying Report
FG’s sheep worrying exclusive gets high praise from NSA
THE FG exclusive on sheep worrying by dogs has been praised by National Sheep Association (NSA) chief executive Phil Stocker as ‘ext-remely valuable’ in raising people’s awareness of the problem.
“We were delighted to see the FG piece, but even we were quite surprised at the number of attacks reported to the police, which was higher than we had realised.”
The NSA has launched a database to try to create an accurate picture of cases of sheep worrying across the UK, providing information which can be used to incr-ease awareness and improve resp-onsible behaviour by dog owners.
“We have had quite a large response with more than 100 reports so far from all parts of the country.
“There is no real pattern emerging and the problem appears to be present in both urban and rural areas. It seems there are lot of attacks linked to dogs being let out by their owners at night.”
He said among the points raised so far was attacks were not limi-ted to open or common land or on rights of way, but were happening everywhere. There were probably as many incidents involving dogs with their owners as there were with stray dogs running wild.
The incidents involved various breeds and were not necessarily the ‘recognised aggressive’ breeds.
Mr Stocker said many farmers were confused about where they stood legally. “Farmers clearly don’t want to shoot dogs and will do so only as a last resort, but they are worried about the consequences if they do shoot a dog.”
He said there seemed to be a level of inconsistency about the way the various police stations were dealing with the problem.
“There is also frustration over inconsistencies in prosecutions of people whose dogs have worried livestock. We had one caller who said a prosecution was successful but the fine was only £5.”
Mr Stocker said there had been a lot of positive comments about the database. “Obviously we can’t promise to stop the problem from happening, but can do our bit to ensure more people are aware of it,” he added.
The NSA hotline for its database is 01684 892 661.