Dorset Police have revealed that they had 36 reports of dogs attacking sheep last year - and 14 this year already.

They are warning dog owners that they must keep their dogs on leads around livestock.

A police spokesperson said: "During 2020, Dorset Police had 36 reported incidents of livestock worrying and attacks by dogs.

"This is 36 times a dog owner has failed to have their dog under their close control near livestock and did not consider what their dog may do.

"‘My dog has never done anything like that before' is repeatedly seen on police incident logs.

"We are three months in to 2021 and we have already seen 14 reports of livestock worrying or attacks and it appears that some of these reports have been from dog which have escaped their owners' gardens.

"Please check the perimeter of your garden fences and check that these are secure. If fences aren’t up to scratch, please rectify any areas of concerns immediately and until this has been done don’t let the dog outside unsupervised."

Livestock worrying is a criminal offence so police are reminding dog owners to keep all dogs on a lead around any livestock and to always release the lead if chased by cattle and get to safety.

Worrying is traditionally thought of as a dog biting/attacking livestock but it also means chasing livestock in such a way as may be reasonably expected to cause injury or suffering; in the case of ewes, this includes abortion or loss or reduction in the number of offspring she has.

It means not having a dog on a lead or under close control when close by, or in a field or enclosure with livestock.

The penalty for livestock worrying can be six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £1000.

If you live in Dorset and would like some signs for your farm or small holding where you have footpaths crossing farm land, send an email to with the subject line “worrying signs” and include in the email your address and quantity of signs you require.