FG Exclusive Sheep Worrying Report
NSA sheep worrying database receives 100 calls in first three weeks
THE database, set up by the National Sheep Association to record incidents of sheep worrying by dogs received around 100 calls in its first three weeks, said NSA chief executive Phil Stocker.
The aim is to create an accurate picture of cases of sheep worrying across the UK, providing information which can be used to increase awareness and improve responsible behaviour by dog owners.
Mr Stocker said: “Sheep worrying is certainly on the increase, which is why we set up the database, and the calls we’ve received have ranged from actual attacks by dogs to sheep worrying, the effects of which are not always immediate.”
He said among the points raised so far were that attacks were not limited 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 people appeared to have an issue with walking their dogs on footpaths. “They appear to think if they are on a footpath then they can do what they want and don’t have to keep their dogs on the lead.”
He said for many farmers there seemed to be ‘a lot of confusion’ about the law and what they could or could not do. “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.
“There is 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 data base and people were pleased to be able to report these incidents. “Obviously we can’t promise to stop the problem from happening, but can do our bit to ensure more people are aware of it.
“But, if the relationship between a dog and its owner is right, then the dog is less likely to cause problems.”
- The NSA hotline for its database is 01684 892661.