All dogs should be kept on a lead around sheep and other livestock by law to prevent “brutal and horrendous attacks”, ministers have been told - writes David Lynch of the Press Association.

Conservative MP Virginia Crosbie (Ynys Mon) also called on the government to introduce unlimited fines for the owners of dogs that attack farm animals, as she introduced her Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Bill.

Ms Crosbie told the Commons this week: “Earlier this year, one of the farmers in my constituency of Ynys Mon suffered a horrific attack on his sheep.

“He found seven pregnant ewes and three rams dead in his fields in Bodedern. They had been killed by an unknown dog or dogs in Ynys Mon, what police described as a brutal and horrendous attack.”

She added: “His sheep had been brutally killed and had clearly suffered horrendously.

"The dog that carried out the attack has never been identified and even if the dog was suspected, the law has no teeth to identify and seize it unless it is found unsupervised at the scene of the assault.

"He is not alone. This is a huge issue for farmers across the UK.”

The MP said there were estimates that as many as 15,000 sheep are killed by dogs each year, and cited National Farmers Union data which suggested the total cost of dog attacks for farmers in 2020 was estimated to be £1.3 million.

Ms Crosbie added the current Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 was “outdated and no longer fit for purpose” and also said the new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill introduced this year “still does not go far enough”.

In her Bill, she called for police to be able to seize dogs and take DNA samples if they believe that dog attacked livestock, and for placing dogs on a lead to become a legal requirement if they are near farm animals.

She also called for the £1,000 upper limit on fines for livestock worrying to be removed and replaced with an unlimited fine.

Ms Crosbie added the Bill was “not designed to persecute dogs or dog owners”.

She said: “I am a dog owner myself, as are most farmers, and none of us want to see dogs destroyed or owners made to suffer.

“We know in many cases the dogs that carry out livestock worrying will be otherwise loveable and good-natured family pets which abscond from their premises in the absence of their owner or are left off the lead on countryside walks.”

The Bill is due for a second reading on September 10. It is unlikely to be passed without support from the Government.