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Rural crime - Livestock worrying

Throughout March officers from Devon & Cornwall police rural affairs team will launch their annual campaign to highlight preventative measures to reduce attacks on livestock by dogs.


During 2022 Devon & Cornwall police received 140 reports of livestock attacks. A slight reduction from the previous year however within this number 220 animals have been killed or injured, and two dogs were killed.


These numbers are likely to be much higher due to under reporting and the longer term effects of an incident where the stress can cause a sheep to die or miscarry their lambs long after the event. It can often be difficult to attribute longer term issues to a specific incident.


When a dog is allowed to chase or attack livestock it is a criminal offence and can have a devastating impact on livestock, farmers and in some circumstances the dog and the owner. Crime data indicates an increase in reports at this time of year as the weather improves and as more people access the countryside, particularly during lambing.


We are hoping that by repeating this campaign we can remind people of the law and ensure responsible dog ownership. Dogs should not be unaccompanied outside of the home and their behaviour should be always managed. All land is owned, and access is not a given right, It is important that users of the countryside understand specific designations of land and rights of way, for example on land designated as access land a dog’s must be on a lead between the 1st of March and 31st July and at all times when livestock is present.


If you witness an attack on livestock, do not intervene, keep yourself safe and call 999. All other information relating to attacks on livestock should be reported to the police online or by calling 101.


The rural affairs team have a produced a short video highlighting the problem which can be found at the following link.


Devon and Cornwall Police - Rural Crime - Livestock Worrying - YouTube


information about land designations, access and rights of way can be found on the following links.


Cornwall Council Interactive Map

Magic Map Application (defra.gov.uk)


Enjoy the countryside but keep your dog on a lead if livestock is present. Release your dog if chased by cattle.


Livestock worrying taking place at the time is considered an emergency dial 999 and explain there is a dog attacking livestock with a precise location.


Livestock owners can advise dog walkers by giving clear notices advising of the presence of livestock, Location of footpaths and appropriate fencing.


Farmers have the right to protect their livestock. Ensure you are aware of the legislation and your legal responsibilities.


Thank you


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Message Sent By
Chris Collins
(Police, PC, Rural affairs, Devon & Cornwall)

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