Farmer shoots dog in Hebden Bridge after it kills six lambs and injures more in sheep worrying incident

A farmer shot a dog in West Yorkshire after it killed six lambs and injured more.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 4:45 pm

It was one of 20 wildlife incidents across the county in the last 24 hours.

There was also a sheep worrying incident in the LS17 area of Leeds in which one sheep was killed.

West Yorkshire Police's rural and wildlife crime team shared details of the incidents on their Facebook page.

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Sheep in Yorkshire (file photo).

They wrote: "Sheep worrying incident where 6 lambs killed and numerous injured. Dog shot by farmer to prevent further loss of life."

It happened in the Hebden Bridge area, but the exact location has not been disclosed.

In law, sheep worrying is an offence. It means that any dog owner which allows their dog to even chase a sheep or put the sheep under any kind of stress is breaking the law.

In that situation, a farmer can legally shoot that dog, including kill it.

What is sheep worrying?

The National Sheep Association has issued this advice to dog owners about sheep worrying.

A spokesman said: "This advice will help you and your pet have fun and safe days out without disrupting the important work of sheep farmers. You should also read this advice if you are a dog owner living in or near a farming area, as escaped dogs can be a real problem for farmers.

"Sheep are valuable assets and any harm to them harms a farmer’s livelihood.

"It is every dog’s instinct to chase, even if they are usually obedient and good with other animals.

"Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to sheep, even if the dog doesn’t catch them. The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.

"Sheep fleeing from dogs are often killed or seriously injured by their panicked attempts to escape, causing untold damage to fences and field boundaries in the process.

"Dogs chasing ewes and lambs can cause mis-mothering issues, with lambs dying from starvation or hypothermia when they become separated from their mother and fail to find her again.

"Dog bites can cause death in sheep or necessitate them being put down at a later date, or in less severe cases considerable veterinary bills and additional welfare issues as a result of flies being attracted to the blood and leading to a nasty health problem in sheep called ‘fly strike’. Injuries to sheep can also delay the normal farming routine, be it the mating season or administration of vital medicines and vaccines.

"It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep. Worrying includes attacking or chasing sheep and, in some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep.

"It is vital that you keep your dog on the lead around livestock, even if you can usually trust it to come to call. If you live in or near a farming area, you must make sure that your dog cannot escape from your property, as it may find its way onto land containing sheep."