AMMANFORD police have urgently pleaded with dog owners to keep their pets under control following a recent spate of sheep killings.
In the past few weeks, the police have dealt with several cases of sheep worrying, resulting in the death of animals across the area, including at Pantyffynnon, Betws and Llandybie.
They are now urging dog owners to ensure that their dogs are kept on a lead and under control at all times around animals and reminding them of the legal ramifications of not doing so.
A police spokesperson said: “Recently there have been several incidents of sheep being killed in the Llandybie, Pentregwenlais, Carmel, Betws and Pantyffynnon areas.
“We are urging dog owners to be responsible around sheep and warning them that sheep worrying is a crime.
“Walkers are being reminded to keep their dogs on leads and under control.”
Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to sheep, even if the dog doesn’t catch them. The chase caused severe stress for the animal, which can lead to miscarrying of lambs and even death.
Sheep fleeing from dogs are also often killed or seriously injured in their panic and can cause untold damage to fences and boundaries. Dog bites can also cause death in sheep or lead to them being put down at a later date, not to mention distress and costly vet bills for the livestock’s owner.
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence.
The Act considers sheep worrying to include attacking sheep, chasing them in a way that may cause injury, suffering, abortion or loss of produce or being at large (not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.
The Countryside Right of Way Act (CROW) allows anyone on to open access land (land you can access without having to use paths, including mountains, moorland, heaths, downs and registered common land) for recreation, but states that the public can only go on this land if they keep dogs on a fixed lead of 2 metres or less near livestock.
Penalties for allowing your dog to worry livestock could see owners prosecuted and fined, ordered to pay compensation or even have their dog destroyed.
In some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they deem they are endangering their sheep.
If anyone has any information that could assist the police with their enquiries, please contact either Ammanford or Cross Hands police stations on telephone number 101.