POLICE are urging dog owners to keep their pets under control after a spate of attacks on livestock.
PC Tony Walsh, of Clitheroe Police, has received a number of complaints from farmers after a series of incidents in which livestock was harassed, attacked and even killed by dogs. In the latest incident, a sheep and lamb were killed over the weekend near Pendle Hill.
Now police are stepping up patrols in and around the Pendle Hill area, West Bradford and Bolton-By-Bowland, where the majority of attacks have been reported, and will be working with local farmers in order to improve signage near entrances.
Police are also warning dog owners they could face a substantial fine if they are prosecuted and convicted.
PC Tony Walsh, who is one of the rural Community Beat Managers in the Ribble Valley, says it is particularly important that dogs are kept on a lead when they are in fields where livestock is kept.
He said: “Unfortunately, a number of sheep and lambs are killed each year by dogs which have been let off their leads in fields that contain livestock. Owners may believe that their pets will not harm the animals, but a loose dog is distressing for the sheep and on occasion dogs do attack, and these attacks can be fatal.
“This can be a traumatic experience, not just for the sheep and the other animals in the field, but also for the farmer, whose livelihood is intrinsically tied to these animals and the dog owner, who is often taken completely by surprise by their pet’s behaviour.”
PC Walsh added: “Owners can be fined if their dogs are worrying livestock, but there is also the risk that their pet may be shot by a farmer trying to protect his livestock. I would like to remind all dog walkers to ensure that their pets remain on their leads where required.
“It is important that they remain obedient and under control at all times to ensure there is no potential for them to chase or worry livestock. We will be taking positive action against irresponsible owners. Livestock are an important part of farmers’ livelihood and they would appreciate the public’s assistance in protecting their animals.”