Dog owners in Warwickshire asked to be mindful of keeping their pets on leads around sheep during lambing season

Warwickshire County Council is asking dog owners to be mindful of sheep and keep their dogs on leads around livestock as the impact of sheep worrying intensifies during lambing season

A Sheep (stock image)
A Sheep (stock image)

Areas such as Burton Dassett Hills have had an increase in dogs worrying sheep belonging to farmers, which is of increased concern during the upcoming lambing season, as chasing by dogs can cause serious harm to sheep, even if the dog doesn’t catch them.

The stress of it can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.

If a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence, but dogs too can be harmed as a result.

As it is an offence to allow a dog to attack or chase sheep, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep in some circumstances.

Whilst these incidents have occurred previously, it is thought that this year there could be a greater impact due to the rise in the number of people getting dogs over the course of the past year, and more people taking their dogs out for walks during lockdown.

To help tackle this issue, signs will be put up at Burton Dassett Hills to remind dog owners of their responsibilities in helping protect livestock from harm.

Cllr Heather Timms, portfolio holder for environment and heritage & culture said: “We are all lucky to live in a part of the country with great access to beauty spots where we can go for long walks with our dogs.

"However, we all have a part to play in protecting livestock at this time of year and ensure no harm comes to them because of harassment by dogs.

"By keeping dogs on leads when livestock are near, we can help local farmers protect their sheep as we head into lambing season.”

More information about the Burton Dassett Hills can be found here: https://countryparks.warwickshire.gov.uk/burtondassett