Police have issued a stark warning to those who choose to walk their dogs in the countryside as lambing season begins on farms across Wiltshire.
Dog owners with the countryside on their doorsteps are able to enjoy it despite the coronavirus lockdown laws, meaning the risk of livestock being attacked by dogs is less likely, but still possible.
Police in Cirencester, just north of Swindon, posted a graphic photograph of a dead lamb alongside a dog which has been shot legally by a farmer this time last year on social media to show the possible consequences of allowing your pet to run free in farmers’ fields.
Alongside the photograph, Gloucestershire Constabulary commented: “Lambs are currently been born and as usual we will see lots of lambs being killed by dogs.
This is what happened near Cirencester last year. He was shot by the farmer. The farmer was not to blame, he was legally protecting his livestock after too many of his lambs had been killed.”
Wiltshire Police has also warned residents to make sure their dogs are on leads around livestock.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire’s rural crime team said: “If you are exercising in the countryside, please stay on the footpath and keep dogs on a lead around livestock.
“Livestock worrying isn’t just if your dog bites or attacks livestock. It’s also if your dog chases livestock in a way as may be reasonably expected to cause injury/suffering or not having a dog on a lead or under close control when close by, or in a field with livestock.
“Public footpaths are clearly marked – please do not stray from these into farmer’s land. This is trespassing. If you are using a public right of way across agricultural land, please leave gates and property as you find them and stick to the marked paths.”
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