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Local sheep-worrying concern

Created on 02/03/2018 @ 11:07
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As the Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police speaks out in support of a national report highlighting the scale of dog attacks on livestock, one local farmer tells us that he has lost two sheep already.

A report, by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC), showed the problems faced by livestock owners, and the challenges police forces encounter in supporting farmers to deal with the issue.

Currently, dog owners are not obliged to make a report to the police if their dog attacked livestock, and attacks are not treated as a ‘recordable crime’ on police systems. As a result, there has been little reliable police data on the scale of the problem facing local farmers and livestock owners.

The NPCC’s Wildlife and Rural Crime Working Group spent a year looking at the true extent of livestock worrying and attacks in five forces, and found that there were 1,705 recorded incidents at an estimated cost of £250,000.

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “We fully support this timely review, and the recommendations made within it, which we believe would benefit both the victims of these offences and the officers investigating them.

“There should be a requirement from the Home Office that police forces record attacks on livestock and on animals not currently listed as livestock as a recordable crime. The current situation means that we are missing the opportunity improve the data picture.

“I also believe it is fundamentally important that dog owners take responsibility if their animals attack livestock and report it immediately to police. This will allow the livestock owner to attend the scene more quickly, and could potentially save some of the animals involved.

In 2016 it was estimated that around 15,000 sheep were killed by dogs, putting the cost to the farming sector at around £1.3 million, and one local farmer has told us of his recent problems.

“Dog owners are letting their animals off the lead in open fields close to livestock and it is causing huge problems,” he said, asking to remain anonymous. “This causes huge amounts of stress for in-lamb ewes at this time of year and I have already lost two because of dogs.

“We are just asking that dog owners act more responsibly close to livestock.”

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