Sheep worrying

There have been an increase in the number of reports of sheep worrying by dogs.  This is extremely distressing for shepherds and farmers and also incurs a financial loss.

A simple thing to do is request that all recreational users keep their dogs on a lead. This is important so that ewes do not take fright and flee which can lead to shock, exhaustion, stress and death.  Lambs and ewes can be mismothered and in the cold temperatures this increases the possibility of lamb losses.  Farmers and shepherds can make this an opportunity to explain and educate about lambing, livestock management and animal welfare. Staying calm and rational is important.

Under the Access Code there are rights and responsibility for land managers and recreational users of the countryside.  You can find out about the Access Code here.

Click here for advice on Dealing with Irresponsible Behaviour

As the spring lambing season progresses, farmers and shepherds who experience dog worrying should report the incidence to their local police by telephoning 101.

Take appropriate and lawful steps to inform countryside users about their responsibilities. Signs on gates and fences are a good way to responsibly inform people about what is happening in the field and why it is important to protect ewes and lambs at this time of year.  You can download example signs here 

You can also report any problems to your Local Access Forum - contact your Local Authority for more details on how to do this.

Published date: 3 Apr 2013