Reminder to dog walkers to be responsible around Derbyshire livestock

Derbyshire Police have issued a reminder of the laws around walking dogs in the countryside.

Saturday, 12th March 2022, 12:44 pm

As the weather gets warmer, more people may be ready to get out and about in more rural spots in Derbyshire.

Officers want to remind people of the importance of keeping your dogs on a lead and under close control to avoid causing unintentional injury or distress to sheep or cattle.

It will also help ensure you keep your pet safe while walking on public footpaths through fields or agricultural land.

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They have also issued advice for dog walkers

Sergeant Chris Wilkinson, who leads the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team, said: “While you may feel your dog is quite docile, friendly or playful, and unlikely to chase livestock, you cannot know how your dog will behave in different situations.

"Farm animals can be very protective, particularly during lambing season and when they have young. This can often cause them and in turn your dog to behave differently.”

“There have been numerous incidents in Derbyshire where animals have been attacked or died after being frightened resulting in both financial and emotional loss to Farmers.

“That’s why we’re encouraging people to keep dogs under control and on leads around livestock, even if you can usually trust your pet to return to you when called.”

They have also issued tips to stay safe while near livestock with your dog:

Keep your dog on a short lead around cows and sheep, but release if threatened by cattle so you can both get to safety separately. If cattle start to follow, stay calm and walk quickly and quietly around the herd. Don't get between cows and their calves – walk around the herd and re-join the path when safe. If you feel threatened by animals, try not to panic and don’t run – move to the edge of the field and, if possible, find another route. Remember to clean up after your dog.

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 (i.e., not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.

You can find advice and information on the Countryside Code here: