I attended a roundtable event in Parliament on Tuesday where North Wales Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council on Crime and Rural Affairs demonstrated to MPs the issue of livestock thefts and worrying.
The police were calling on the public to help support their campaign to think carefully about how they interact around livestock. The true extent of livestock worrying and livestock attacks still requires a lot more research and understanding. The police are urging the public to contact them when they see livestock worrying or thefts to bring this crime under control.
Livestock worrying is an offence committed by anyone who owns, or is in charge of a dog which worries livestock. The term worrying means:
• Attacking livestock;
• Chasing livestock in such a way as may be reasonably expected to cause injury or suffering; in the case of ewes. This includes abortion or loss or reduction in the number of offspring;
• Not having a dog on a lead or under close control when close by, or in a field or enclosure with livestock.
The police want people with dogs to ensure their animals are on a lead and that livestock owners ensure that their boundaries are secure. If anyone sees any of these incidents they should contact either the 101 or 999 numbers.
You should dial 999 if you see dogs worrying livestock as this is considered an emergency if it is taking place at the time and there is, or likely to be serious damage to livestock. Ask for the police and explain to the operator that there is a dog attacking livestock. To enable your call to be correctly graded, please stress to the operator that there either has been, or will be serious damage to livestock.
You should dial 101 if livestock has been attacked and the dog(s) have left the location. Ask for the relevant police force and explain to the operator what has happened. The operator will give you advice and explain how the force will handle the report.
I am calling on all constituents to keep vigilant to the threats of livestock worrying and attacks. If you see it report it. It is important in a rural economy, like ours, that we educate people about the rights and responsibilities they hold.
For many livestock farmers in Delyn the worry of a livestock attack is deeply concerning. We must work together to ensure that people are aware that they should keep dogs on leads to protect livestock. But also that if you own livestock that you ensure your boundaries are secure.
I hope that constituents will take the advice of North Wales Police and keep our countryside a safe place to visit and work in. Sadly, 49 dogs had to be destroyed following attacks on livestock. You need to ensure that you know the rural code whilst out with your dog to keep everyone safe.