Warning given to dog walkers after a number of livestock worrying incidents on the Isle of Wight
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Officers from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary’s Country Watch team are issuing a warning to dog walkers to keep their pets on leads in rural areas or potentially face prosecution.
This follows a number of incidents on the Isle of Wight, where owners have been walking with dogs off their lead or not under close control. Their pets have then chased, and in some cases, fatally attacking sheep.
During an incident on Saturday evening (5 August) it is reported that a dog chased a number of sheep at around 5.30pm on St. John’s Road in Ventnor; before the owner got the dog under control and left the scene.
While another incident occurred earlier on Saturday, where a dog entered a field in the Godshill area and chasing sheep; resulting in the death of two sheep and worrying a number of others.
The owner of the dog has agreed to pay compensation to the victim as a result of their losses.
A number of sheep were either killed and injured during others incidents in Ninham in March and Whitwell in April earlier this year.
As a result, members of the Country Watch team will be increasing their proactive patrols of hot-spot areas across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to tackle the ongoing issues.
Police Staff Investigator Andrew Williams, from the Country Watch team, said: “The majority of dog owners are responsible, but unfortunately there are a small minority whose recklessness puts the welfare of other animals at risk.
“It is so important to keep dogs either on leads or under close control, particularly around livestock.
“Shepherds report that they get a mixed response from dog owners when challenged, some are apologetic but others can be hostile.
“I would like to remind dog owners that they must be mindful of livestock – even if they can’t see them – when out and ensure that they keep their dogs on the lead.
“If you are walking your dog in a field and there is no livestock, please keep the dog in sight at all times, be aware of what it is doing, and be confident it will return to you promptly on command. If you cannot be confident of this, the dog should not be off the lead.
“Ensure the dog does not stray off the path or area where you have right of access.” Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, it is a criminal offence for a dog to actively worry livestock.
We want owners to be aware that in such instances, the owner or person in control of the dog can be prosecuted, and the dog can by shot by the farmer to end an attack.