New data prompts rethink from National Police Chief’s Council
Police are exploring the idea of a dog DNA database to help tackle the problem of livestock worrying.
The measure is one of a number of recommendations made in the Livestock Worrying Police Working Group Final Report, published last week (21 February) by the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC).
Other proposals include giving police officers more power to confiscate dogs who repeatedly worry livestock and placing a legal obligation on dog owners to report livestock attacks.
The investigation involving police forces from across the UK found that there have been 1705 recorded incidents of livestock worrying since September 2013. Many of these incidents involved repeat offenders and, in the majority of incidents, the dog owner was not around at the time of the attack.
NPCCs chief constable David Jones said that the project “provided hard data showing livestock worrying is a very significant issue for farmers”.
“We need dog-owners to take responsibility for their animals – not just by putting their dogs on a lead when out walking, but by preventing them from escaping from home and causing damage to livestock,” he said. “We need livestock owners to report incidents so that we can gather intelligence and launch investigations.”
Animal welfare minister Lord Gardiner said that Defra has been working with community organisations and with the police to highlight the support available and to encourage farmers to report incidents. He added that he would be looking closely at the report’s recommendations.