Milton Keynes dog owners reminded to keep animals under control following worrying sheep incidents – MKFM 106.3FM

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Milton Keynes Police have issued a statement urging dog owners to keep their pets under control.

Police are reminding dog owners to keep their dogs under control after reporting a number of disturbing sheep incidents across the county.

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, it is a criminal offense to allow a dog to harass or attack livestock.

Thames Valley Police explained in a social media post:

“Sheep represent a farmer’s income and are often worth a substantial sum. If they are attacked or killed, the loss suffered by farmers can waste a lot of their time.

“Sheep may be concerned about dogs physically attacking animals, running after them, or chasing sheep, especially when carrying lambs or when there are young lambs in the flock. Dog droppings left on pastures can also carry diseases that can kill sheep and affect unborn lambs.

“Police may seize and detain a dog when an officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the dog is causing concern to livestock on farmland; and no person present admits to being the dog’s owner. This may ultimately lead to a dog being put down.

“At the end of the day, a landowner, in accordance with the law, and as a last resort to protect his livestock, can shoot a dog he believes to be a disturbing sheep. However, no one wants to see that result.”

Thames Valley Police have issued the following advice for dog owners in rural areas:

  • Always make sure your dog is under control in an area with livestock or wildlife.
  • Be especially vigilant during lambing season and always keep dogs on a leash during this time.
  • If your dog is not good with other animals or people, avoid letting him off leash when other people are around.
  • Don’t allow people who aren’t sure or don’t have full control of the animal to walk your dog.
  • Remember that one day when there are no cattle in a field, the same place may be full of animals the next day.
  • Ultimately, a landowner by law, and as a last resort to protect his livestock, is able to shoot a dog he thinks is worrying the sheep. The police must be notified within 48 hours if this action is taken.

Anyone who witnesses an incident where sheep are causing concern to livestock or who has information about dangerously out of control dogs is urged to contact the police immediately on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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