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Cheshire East Council calls on dog owners to ‘get a grip’

15 February 2018

Cheshire East is calling on dog owners to ‘get a grip’ and ensure their pets don’t harm livestock and nesting birds. 

Dogs worrying and attacking livestock is a serious problem, having a major emotional and financial impact on all involved. 

Many attacks occur during the lambing season and during nesting time. It is vital that dogs are kept on leads – especially during these times.

Cheshire East Council animal health and welfare team, Cheshire police and the countryside rangers have launched a joint campaign to reduce incidents in the borough.

They have drawn up a checklist of dos and don’ts. For dog owners these include:

  • Your dog should never be unaccompanied outside of your home. Many incidents of worrying and attacks occur when owners are not present;
  • You have a legal responsibility to ensure your dog is secure and cannot escape and cause problems;
  • Consider using alternative routes away from livestock, where possible;
  • Keep your dog on a lead in enclosures containing livestock (walkers are advised to release their dogs however if threatened by cattle, so that they can get to safety separately); and
  •  Pick up after your dog and dispose of faeces responsibly – in a bin or take it home for disposal. Dog faeces contain parasites that are harmful to sheep and cattle.  

Farmers should:

  • Display notices that advise dog walkers of livestock in fields and ask the public to keep livestock safe by keeping their dogs on leads; 
  • Ensure notices are up to date and removed if not required;
  • Report all incidents of livestock worrying and attacks to the police by ringing 101. 

Mark Palethorpe, Cheshire East Council executive director of people, said: “Dog owners have a duty to be responsible, considerate and obey the law regarding their pets. I would remind everyone that it is a criminal offence for an owner or person in charge of a dog to allow it to worry livestock.  

“The majority of pet owners are responsible – but all should be aware that, as a last resort, a landowner or someone acting on their behalf, has the legal right to shoot a dog to protect their property, under the Animals Act 1971.

“Please keep your dog on a lead, where livestock is grazing or there could be a threat to ground-nesting birds. Any dog, regardless of breed, has the potential to chase and worry livestock. Do not let it be your dog.” 

If you allow a dog to worry livestock you may be prosecuted or fined and ordered to pay compensation.

For more information on this issue visit: www.gov.uk/control-dog-public