A SOUTH west police force is urging dog walkers to keep their dogs on leads and under control when near livestock - after a number of attacks on flocks of sheep. 

Wiltshire Rural Crime Team, part of Wiltshire Police, has issued a warning to dog owners and reminding them that livestock worrying is a criminal offence, and you can be fined up to £1,000. 

The force has recently uploaded a video, in which a dog walker explains their experience when their dogs chased a flock of sheep

A spokesperson for the rural crime team said: "Shocking injuries have been done to sheep and many killings over the past year with an average of two reports a month. We believe this to be considerably under-reported.

"We are fortunate to live in a very beautiful and rural county with over 94% of the area classed as such and 2,329 farms providing the livelihood for many. We wish people to enjoy our countryside and enjoy healthy walks with their dogs but please act responsibly around livestock."


The police force has offered advice on how to prevent livestock worrying: 

  • Always keep dogs under control when walking in rural areas – if livestock are present keep your dog on a lead. Remember even small dogs are capable of attacking and killing livestock.

  • Always close gates behind you. This will prevent any animals escaping.

  • If your garden borders livestock fields make sure that all the boundaries are completely secure – many attacks are caused by dogs which escape and attack sheep grazing nearby.

  • Familiarise puppies with farm livestock from a young age to reduce the risk of them attacking sheep or cattle as adult dogs (speak to a local farmer to arrange).