This is an archived press release
Tuesday 17 May 2005
17 May 2005
Plea to dog owners - keep pet under control on farmland
Police and the Peak District National Park Authority have issued a plea to dog owners after a spate of sheep worrying, cattle problems and wildlife disturbance in the countryside.
While not wanting to deter people from dog walking, both police and National Park rangers stress the dangers to farm animals, wildlife, the dogs themselves and even their owners of letting a dog roam out of control.
PC Paul Flowers, Rural Watch officer for Staffordshire Moorlands, said there had been an increase in such incidents in the past few weeks: "Dog owners have no idea what their dogs are capable of until it's too late. Most dogs are capable of worrying sheep, and some of the larger breeds are potential killers.
"If a dog chases sheep or other livestock that constitutes an offence - the sheep do not have to be bitten or killed - and in certain circumstances a farmer may legally shoot a dog that is worrying farm animals."
The maximum penalty for the offence of a dog killing livestock is £1,000.
Andy Farmer, Peak District National Park Senior Ranger, said: "We like to see people with their dogs enjoying the countryside - however this time of year is particularly sensitive for farm animals and wildlife, when lambing, calving, nesting and breeding all come together.
"It isn't just sheep and cows which are vulnerable, but ground-nesting birds like the curlew and lapwing, and wild creatures such as hares.
"We're asking people to take extra care in the countryside - to be aware of farm animals and keep their dog on a short (2m) lead."
A dog walker was attacked by a Highland cow with a calf in April near Baslow, suffering broken ribs, and last year a distressed dog owner warned others to learn from his mistake after his dog savaged a lamb which had to be put down.
Any queries about countryside policing in the Staffordshire Moorlands, call Rural Watch Co-ordinator PC Paul Flowers, on 07717 547895.