Dog attacks on livestock having risen by 50 per cent in just the first three months of this year.

But what should you do in the event that a dog attacks your animals?

The National Sheep Association (NSA) says that your first concern should be your own safety - although you may not feel that at the time.

It can be difficult to stop a dog that's caught up in the chase but the dog could turn if you come too close when it's in attack mode.

The police can only act if they know of the attack and they now have increased powers to wield on dog owners - so call them on 101.

READ MORE: New laws to help police find, seize and detain dogs following livestock attacks

It may be a challenge to have the presence of mind, but if you have a phone on you, take a video or photos, both of the attack (if possible) and the aftermath.

This evidence prevents the dog owner denying the attack and it helps the police to identify the dogs, and then owners.

If the incident ends up in court, your photos and video will be important evidence.

Disturbing as it is, it's important to collect evidence following the attack. Photographs of injuries, prolapses and abortions will support police charges and can evidence the type of costs that are owing as a result of the attack.

READ MORE: What's the law on shooting a dog for livestock worrying?

Sometimes it is necessary to shoot a dog that is attacking your livestock, but the law around this is complex and shooting should always be the last resort.

If you do shoot a dog, it is imperative that you report the shooting to the police within 48 hours. If you do not, the defences offered in the The Animals Act 1971 will be not be valid in civil proceedings.