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Thread: Protection of livestock

  1. #1

    Protection of livestock

    Technical question here on the protection of livestock, the eternal shooting dogs worrying livestock question, but with a bit of a complex twist. Now, its not imminent in any way, but he's had it happen before, and IF I see a dog worrying his stock in the future, I'd like to know where I stand.

    I have shooting permission on a patch of Farmland - now, I know that if I see a dog worrying the farmers livestock on his land, then I have the power within the law to shoot it, However his land is bordered on two sides by common land, over which the farmer has rights of common, and as such is permitted to graze his animals there - one patch of common land is in the ownership of the national trust, the other patch has no legal owner, and a such the management and administration is vested in the local council.

    1971 protection of animals act says:

    Killing of or injury to dogs worrying livestock.
    (1)
    In any civil proceedings against a person (in this section referred to as the defendant) for killing or causing injury to a dog it shall be a defence to prove—

    (a)
    that the defendant acted for the protection of any livestock and was a person entitled to act for the protection of that livestock; and

    (b)
    that within forty-eight hours of the killing or injury notice thereof was given by the defendant to the officer in charge of a police station.

    (2)
    For the purposes of this section a person is entitled to act for the protection of any livestock if, and only if—

    (a)
    the livestock or the land on which it is belongs to him or to any person under whose express or implied authority he is acting; and

    (b)
    the circumstances are not such that liability for killing or causing injury to the livestock would be excluded by section 5(4) of this Act.

    (3)
    Subject to subsection (4) of this section, a person killing or causing injury to a dog shall be deemed for the purposes of this section to act for the protection of any livestock if, and only if, either—

    (a)
    the dog is worrying or is about to worry the livestock and there are no other reasonable means of ending or preventing the worrying; or

    (b)
    the dog has been worrying livestock, has not left the vicinity and is not under the control of any person and there are no practicable means of ascertaining to whom it belongs.

    (4)
    For the purposes of this section the condition stated in either of the paragraphs of the preceding subsection shall be deemed to have been satisfied if the defendant believed that it was satisfied and had reasonable ground for that belief.

    (5)
    For the purposes of this section—

    (a)
    an animal belongs to any person if he owns it or has it in his possession; and

    (b)

    land belongs to any person if he is the occupier thereof.

    So, by my reading of the relevant legislation, if I see a dog worrying the livestock that belongs to my friend the farmer on the common land, then I would be within the law to shoot it.

    It occurred to me that this was only a statutory defence to a civil law case, and that I might still be in trouble for armed trespass, however S20 of the 1968 firearms act is subject to 'reasonable excuse' - which I would have, since I was acting under the 1971 animals act to protect livestock.

    it then occurred to me that I might be in breach of National Trust byelaws, but these only prohibit possession of firearms by unauthorised persons, and go on to state that an authorised person would include (b) A person acting in the legal exercise of some right in over or affecting Trust property.
    So, as far as I can see - If I see a dog worrying my farmers livestock on common land where its allowed to be, then I would be within my rights to shoot it if necessary.

    Just to be clear, this is hopefully just an academic exercise in the law, but if the situations ever does come about, I would like to know what to do.

  2. #2
    If you do not have permission to shoot on the other pieces of land then I'd imagine you would be breaking the law by shooting on it, never mind shooting a dog on it.

    I'd imagine that would be the over-arching determining factor.

  3. #3
    I agree with MD. You do not have permission to shoot over the common land and the farmer cannot give it to you only the NT and Local Council.
    Best thing you can do is go home and keep your head down, you never saw it!!

  4. #4
    Check your FAC, "protection of livestock" will need to be listed as a use for that Rifle. But this does not apply to Shotguns.

  5. #5
    There are other considerations too .... this seems a useful link:-

    http://www.fwi.co.uk/articles/20/09/...-your-land.htm
    If I'm going to be accused of it then it's just as well I did it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by billh View Post
    I agree with MD. You do not have permission to shoot over the common land and the farmer cannot give it to you only the NT and Local Council.
    But the same 'permission' issue would apply with following up wounded deer which crossed onto the common land, which we normally accept would be legal. confused face.

    ps. I don't think the council can give permission, as they don't own it.

  7. #7
    In Scotland only.....

    Section 25 Deer Act(Scotland)1996
    Action intended to prevent suffering.


    A person shall not be guilty of an offence against this Act or any order made under this Act in respect of any act done for the purpose of preventing suffering by—
    (a)an injured or diseased deer; or
    (b)by any deer calf, fawn or kid deprived, or about to be deprived, of its mother.

    England-need permission.....

    Shooting dogs-always need proof of damage etc,be careful

    https://m.facebook.com/UKSHA-502164506587351/
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolverine View Post

    Shooting dogs-always need proof of damage etc,be careful
    No you don't.
    In fact, dogs don't actually need to be in the act of worrying stock. Being loose / out of control in a field with livestock is all it takes, if the owner of the livestock believes that the dog/s might be about to attack the livestock.

  9. #9
    Red sky at night.. Your house alight...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by VSS View Post
    No you don't.
    In fact, dogs don't actually need to be in the act of worrying stock. Being loose / out of control in a field with livestock is all it takes, if the owner of the livestock believes that the dog/s might be about to attack the livestock.
    Just what I've always done,never had a problem.....
    So owner of livestock thinks dog is going to attack-ok to shoot?
    Thats what your saying......that's not what I've been told by Police.
    Had scenario happen too.....along with pregnant ewes aborting as well....
    I was told proof of damage or open yourself up to being sued.
    With the aborted ewes-was paid damages by owner of dog and he was told in writing,happens again.....bang,bye bye Fido....hasn't happened again,yet....

    https://m.facebook.com/UKSHA-502164506587351/
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    please visit our web site: uksha1
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