Police have reminded dog owners and landowners of their responsibilities, especially as lighter nights and the lambing season arrive.
The response comes after councillors highlighted incidents involving dogs and livestock in fields at the latest meeting of Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee.
Coun. David Whipp reported a case of two sheep being killed by a dog in Barnoldswick and said the message should be that dogs need to be kept under control and not running loose.
Coun. Whipp said: “Perhaps the dog owner thought he could get the dog under control but sheep have been savaged.”
Chairman of Kelbrook and Sough Parish Council, Coun. Paul Maskell, reported an incident in Kelbrook where a farmer had warned a dog owner he would shoot the dog, despite it not worrying sheep.
Coun. Maskell said: “A farmer threatened to shoot a dog that wasn’t threatening sheep in Kelbrook. I think we need some form of notification from the police that farmers also have a responsibility. Now is a good time to reiterate that message.”
PC Nigel Keates, of Colne and West Craven Police, said one person was prosecuted, three were made to pay substantial compensation and two dogs seized in the Colne area after sheep were mauled last season.
He also said dog owners might be minded to keep dogs on short leads where sheep are present as sheep can be worried by a dog charging or roaming around, even if on an extendable lead hundreds of yards away.
PC Keates said: “May we remind dog owners to keep their pets under control and on a lead in rural areas to reduce the risk of sheep miscarriage during lambing season.
“Farmers are within their rights to shoot and kill dogs if they are deemed to be causing distress to flocks, as such attacks can often lead to huge financial losses.
“Owners can also be prosecuted if their pets are let off their leads while in a field or enclosed space with sheep present.
“As we enter the lambing season it is especially important people know what can happen if their dogs run loose and kill or injure livestock.
“Sheep represent a farmer’s income and are often worth a substantial sum. If attacked, the veterinary bills farmers face can leave them substantially out of pocket.
“If sheep worrying is proved, it can mean the dog owner or person in charge being sued for damages to recompense that loss.
“By ensuring dogs are kept under control when sheep or other livestock are present, owners can significantly reduce the chances of any of the animals involved coming to harm.
“Months of hard work and years of breeding lines can be ruined in just a few minutes by dogs that have been allowed off their leads, please keep your pets under control to prevent further incident.”