• Y.A.W.S Admin

Keep your dog safe around livestock and get to know the law.


Remember no matter how well behaved the dog, the only sure way to avoid trouble with livestock owners and possibly the law always keep your dog on a lead near any type of livestock

Dogs around livestock

  • Keep dogs on a lead when walking them where livestock are, or may be, present

  • It’s a criminal offence to allow your dog to chase or attack livestock

  • Farmers can shoot dogs they believe are worrying livestock on their land

Taking a Sunday afternoon walk in the countryside is one of the great things about dog ownership, but when enjoying the great outdoors with your pet, it’s really important to bear in mind the other animals you are likely to meet.

How to keep your dog safe around livestock

Please bear in mind, unless your dog encounters livestock on a regular basis then the following wont apply too you. The most well behaved and focused of dogs, once exposed to the sight and smells of livestock, and should they start to run and raise the dogs innate senses of chase, should this happen this could get you and your dog in to much trouble.

What the met Police say,

Livestock worrying:

"Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and comes under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.

‘Worrying’ is where a dog attacks or chases livestock causing injury or suffering.

This isn’t just a threat to a farmer or land owner’s livelihood, it’s also a dangerous situation for the animals involved, and could lead to more risk if the animals get onto the road.

A farmer is allowed to kill the dog if it’s worrying their livestock.

Always keep your dog under control around other animals and if you see a dog on the loose worrying animals, call 101."

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead before walking in the countryside. Take tasty treats with you to keep your dog focused on you and serve as a distraction if they become interested in livestock.

Work on a solid recall so you can call your dog back to you when you need to, and a good sit, down and stay so you can keep your dog still when you need to remain calm around other animals. Reward your dog for calm behaviour around animals.

Get puppies and older dogs used to livestock soon after you get them. Gradually expose your new pet to livestock from a distance and reward calm and relaxed behaviour with lots of treats.

On a walk

  • You’ll need to keep your dog under control at all times – it’s a legal requirement and will prevent incidents

  • If you can see farm animals, or if you think you may come across them on your walk, keep your dog on a short lead. While there’s no law requiring you to keep your dog leashed, it will give you peace of mind that they will be unable to chase livestock.

  • Don’t pass between and separate adult sheep or cows from their young. They may act aggressively to protect their lambs or calves.

  • Don’t panic if a cow approaches you gently; they are inquisitive animals. Walk away calmly.

  • If you and your dog are chased or charged at, let go of your dog’s lead. It’s usually the dog they see as a threat rather than you and most dogs can easily outrun a cow but the majority of us humans can’t.

Farm animals are mostly descended from prey animals, and get highly stressed and can die from a dog chasing them.Sheep, cows, pigs, goats, chickens and other animals are easily worried by lots of things that could be a threat to them and your dog chasing them they perceive as a real threat.

Sheep and horses that are pregnant can abort their young from the stress of being chased by your dog.

Why do dogs chase?

Domestic dogs are descended from a predatory species that hunts other animals for food; the grey wolf.

The dog breeds and types we keep as pets today were originally bred to do many different jobs, and as such still have instinctive behaviour traits, some stronger than others. Knowing about your dog's breed may help you to understand how they could react in certain situations, including being around farm animals.

Today in the UK, most dogs are kept as pets, but their chasing and hunting instincts may still be present.

Some dogs will have never seen livestock before and they will react with a mixture of fear, curiosity or nervousness, which could result in aggression or chasing.

Other dogs may see sheep, cattle, pigs or other animals as something they might want to play with, but the livestock will not understand this and can become very frightened.

Many dogs do walk calmly on the lead around livestock with no worry at all, but keeping canine behaviour in mind will help you to know when you may need to act to prevent an incident

#dogs #Livestock #information #otheranimals

©2017 by Yorkshire Animal Welfare Society.