DERRY City and Strabane District Council’s Dog Warden Service are reminding dog owners to act responsibly and ensure their dog is kept under control at all times.
Although it is recognised that the vast majority of dogs are well looked after and are friendly family pets, all dogs have the potential to inflict injury and to worry livestock.
Seamus Donaghy, Head of Health and Community Well Being at Derry City and Strabane District Council, explained that dog worrying of livestock and especially sheep during lambing season is a serious concern for farmers.
“Worrying livestock does not just mean attacking or killing cattle or sheep,” he stressed.
“If your dog chases livestock in such a way as could reasonably be expected to cause any form of suffering to the animals or a financial loss to their owner, it will be considered to have worried the livestock.
“The financial cost can be substantial with the loss of valuable stock, veterinary care, abortions in attacked and frightened animals and damage to property.”
The Council’s Dog Wardens have the authority to seize any dog (of any type and breed) suspected of being involved in worrying or attacking livestock, owners may be prosecuted for any offences and a court may order the dog to be destroyed.
A civil case may also be brought by the farmer for any financial loss suffered.
Council Dog Wardens respond to all incidents of dog worrying or attacks and anyone who witnesses a dog worrying or attacking livestock is encouraged to report this to the Council’s Dog Control team by telephoning 02871 253 253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.