New campaign aims to tackle dog attacks on livestock

A new campaign to put an end to dog attacks across Wales will be rolled out shortly by the FUW, based on solid research and evidence which has provided greater insight into this serious problem. The “Your Dog, Your Responsibility” campaign, launched last week, highlights the fact that 89 per cent of all dog attacks on livestock happen when dogs stray from home.

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“Our focus will be on dogs which escape from the back garden, as well as those off the lead,” said Aled E Jones, FUW CEO for Brecon. “Livestock attacks show no sign of reducing but widening our educational material should help combat some of the causes.”

“Having discussed this issue with the police we have also uncovered that the current system makes it very hard for immediate action to resolve any issues, which can allow for multiple attacks,” Aled said.

Farmers are increasingly frustrated and angry that very little can be done to protect livestock from dog attacks. Education is part of the campaign but changes in legislation are also needed to ensure the seriousness of this offence is understood and to ensure Welsh and English police have the powers to properly deal with offenders.

The FUW is calling for additional powers which would include giving the police more powers to get evidence for prosecution, seizing dogs, banning bad owners from keeping dogs and having dangerous dogs destroyed:

  • Mandatory recording of dog attacks on livestock by all Welsh police forces.

  • Changes to the current limited and outdated fines - currently a maximum non imprisonable offense with a maximum fine of up to £1000.  

  • Fines levied on offenders should be proportionate and should allow for full compensation

  • Police forces granted the power to obtain DNA samples from suspect dogs

  • Powers to confiscate dogs..

  • Legal responsibility for dog owners to report attack to prevent badly injured sheep being left to suffer

  • Failure to report an attack should be an offence

  • Power to ban an owner from owning another dog.  

  • Powers of dog destruction after conviction with the 1953 act.  

Other proposals include:

  • A change to the definition of ‘arable land,’ as attacks are only enforceable on arable land. If a farmer is moving sheep between fields on a public highway the legislation isn’t valid.

  • A wider definition of ‘livestock’ is also needed as certain animals, such as deer, llamas and alpacas, are not covered by the 1953 act.

  • A proper definition of ‘under close control’ as it applies to dogs being walked near livestock.  

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