Dogs and Sheep - what best to do ?

kes

Well-Known Member
#1
I have a small flock of sheep, Wiltshire horned. They are mobile grasscutters and have a very easy life. Two of last years lambs died, without a mark on them.
Yesterday I spotted a terrier type dog in the field - mainly due to the sheep running to one end of the field. Dressed quickly took and age to get a shotgun out of the ****** cabinet and went into the field. The dog was not chasing the sheep but they were clearly unhappy and packed together as one might expect. I fired 3 shots into the air, watched the dog run for it and traced the house he came from. Went round and asked, politely, if they owned a brown short legged dog. Yes, was the reply
.
I said he'd been in with my sheep, they needed to be responsible and control the dog or I would have no alternative but to shoot it to protect the flock, had 2 die in suspicious circumstances etc.
The chap says, I was a sheep farmer and whilst I cant guarantee the dog wont get out into the field again, I can guarantee it wont attack the sheep, its trained not to. I explained about spontaneous abortion, heart attacks etc (which he would have known about and this guy was adamant he couldnt guarantee to keep the dog out of the field but he would guarantee it wouldn't harm the sheep.
What about fear and its effects on sheep which clearly were frightened - oh yes he says, I saw him 'gather' them and then run back when you fired the shots. After much discussion during which I said "dont make me shoot your dog" and him saying it wont hurt the sheep, rather pointlessly. I left it there. Theres a point when its obvious someone does not want to ackowledge responsibility and banging your head against a wall starts to hurt.
We left it with me saying I would contact the police and would guarantee him that if the dog got out into my field again and started chasing/gathering the sheep I would shoot it . He said no need for the police and thanks for letting me know - it wont hurt the sheep
.
Without any emotion, what would you do?
The right and wrong of it are obvious - he has grandkids but doesn't seem to care enough to keep the dog under control.
I am thinking I should chat to the police and shoot it when I next see it - he's had his warning.

Any thoughts as I am open to advice and know once shot, theres no way back.

Finally, my other neighbour, a sheep and livestock farmer, had a sheepdog dog which chased my sheep and I told him - he got rid of the dog advertising it on FB as 'free to good home' and said, "thanks we normally just shoot them if we see them in the field with the flock". This is Wales and very 'sheepy'.
 

LuckyEddie

Well-Known Member
#3
A) notify the police as a record both for yourself and the police.
B) put a notice in the local paper regarding dogs worrying sheep [not necessarily killing them, worrying is enough] and any found in your fields would likely be shot.
C) if you can borrow a shot cam attach it to the shotgun as a record of the event.

Hope you don't have to do C but who knows with eejits like him!

Atb
Ed
 

Miki

Well-Known Member
#4
Put what you have said in writing and send it recorded delivery to the owner. Wait for 5 days, if you see the dog with the sheep, shoot it.
 

Yorric

Well-Known Member
#5
Just to keep yourself protected, it may be best to report what has happened to the police & advise them of your intention to cure the problem. Then if you need to do the deed, they shouldn't give you hassle if it gets reported to them.

Ian
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#6
I would be careful about putting warning signs up or sending letters (not about the sheep worrying but the shooting of the dog), i'm sure that can be classed as threatening or premeditated or something like that.

I''d have a proper google the subject be plenty info from farmer press about the legalites etc, normally i'd say to ask basc too (but can't really do that with OP :) )

I'd say the owner is going to be a problem if/when u shoot it so just make 100% sure u have done everything correctly.
Same with shot cams just make sure it clearly shows wot is needed to be legal incase it can be used against u

U might of been better legally just to shoot it the 1st time with no prior warning to owner, esp the way he has reacted (but i appreciate u have tried to do the rright thing)


I know not the point but is there any obvious holes in the fence where the dog is getting in?? Roundabout its house?
I know u shouldn't have to but patching a few holes or running a roll of rabbit net out might be a quick/cheap fix and save u a load of hassle/grief.
Most dogs will know where the holes in the fence are if u fix them it might give up
I know 1 farmer shot a dog from the village, not entirely sure how legal it was (farmer a real tool anyway) but it cost the farmer, posty and delivery driver quite a few tyres
 

Dexter

Well-Known Member
#7
Simply report it to the police and ask them to have a word with the owner. I have no doubt that Welsh police will be sympathetic of your issues.
Do not be putting up or sending threatening messages as this could create issues for yourself. A sing saying that pregnant ewes are in the field and that stress kills them should be fine though.
 

CarlW

Well-Known Member
#9
I would be careful about putting warning signs up or sending letters (not about the sheep worrying but the shooting of the dog), i'm sure that can be classed as threatening or premeditated or something like that.

I''d have a proper google the subject be plenty info from farmer press about the legalites etc, normally i'd say to ask basc too (but can't really do that with OP :) )

I'd say the owner is going to be a problem if/when u shoot it so just make 100% sure u have done everything correctly.
Same with shot cams just make sure it clearly shows wot is needed to be legal incase it can be used against u

U might of been better legally just to shoot it the 1st time with no prior warning to owner, esp the way he has reacted (but i appreciate u have tried to do the rright thing)


I know not the point but is there any obvious holes in the fence where the dog is getting in?? Roundabout its house?
I know u shouldn't have to but patching a few holes or running a roll of rabbit net out might be a quick/cheap fix and save u a load of hassle/grief.
Most dogs will know where the holes in the fence are if u fix them it might give up
I know 1 farmer shot a dog from the village, not entirely sure how legal it was (farmer a real tool anyway) but it cost the farmer, posty and delivery driver quite a few tyres
Really wise advice from Countryboy. No notices, no letters, no further contact with the owner. You don't want this turning from a "sheep-worrying problem" into a "dispute between neighbours". The former entitles you to shoot the dog; the latter will get your guns removed quick-sticks. Report the problem to the police and get it logged. They may well then go and visit the owner. If it comes back and starts moving the sheep, then shoot it. Once you have shot it, call the police. Do not contact the owner. Note, you are on less firm ground if it is just in the field: try to wait until it engages with the sheep in some way.

Like Countryboy says, cameras are not always our friend: in the fog of war we don't all behave quite as faultlessly as we try to.

And, in case I haven't said it enough already, have no contact with the owner!

Kind regards,

Carl
 

Rusty Gate

Well-Known Member
#13
Just notify the police, hightlight he used to be a sheep farmer so is in full knowledge & understanding of the situation.
Your fenced in so have taken all "reasonable" precautions to nearby public & traffic.
Are you happy to wait for a second time & see him/ report police?
At some point you have to deal with the dog.

If you were a father of a youngster with a disorded & frightened of dog's .......it means nothing if the dog is trained, just being in your garden is too much.
 

shbangsteve

Well-Known Member
#14
As above. Shoot it. My FLO gave me the same advice. Very few prosecutions are successful. A neighbour of mine caught the dog in the act. Took the dog along with some photos to the police station. The police had a vet induce vomiting in the dog and found sheep remains. The dog owner was not charged due to lack of evidence ! needless to say what the neighbour did the next time he caught the dog in the act.
You will loose sheep if the dog continues to worry them. A mate of mine lost several sheep and had over 20% abort. People don't realise what the effect of a dog chasing sheep has on them.
It is a horrible thing to have to shoot a dog but dead dogs don't worry sheep.
 

Siggy

Well-Known Member
#15
shoot the dog on next sighting, no messing about, then take it to the police with owners details
Not a good idea, you can only shoot the dog as a last resort and, I believe, if the owners are absent. if the owners are present, they need to get the dog under control (and pay for any damage)...not what you want to hear but... The scenario I envisage is that you shoot the dog, and then the first question the Police ask is, "So, you know who the owners are, what efforts did you make to contact them to get their dog under control...". When you say, none you are going to have to justify you actions. The law is an ass, but you have no licence to kill - and I don't personally think it's unreasonable shoot out of control dogs among sheep.
 

potshotpat

Well-Known Member
#16
If you can catch the dog, take it for a ride in your car and drop it off in your nearest high street. If the dogs chipped, the owner can be traced and hit with costs from the local dog warden. If it's done enough times the owner might shoot it.:thumb:
 

DVS1

Well-Known Member
#17
A very sticky scenario in the modern 'snowflake' society we live in...your within your rights to shoot a dog worrying your sheep yet you dont wish to fall foul of a dispute which could result in your guns being seized if the neighbour decides to be a d**k about it. As said above I'd log a report with the local plod and that way your covered as you've tried to conclude the issue peacefully yet if the pooch is worrying them again I'd be inclined to shoot and protect your flock.
 

TURNBOLT

Well-Known Member
#18
Be careful,my farmer mate saw 2 dogs biting and chasing his cows. He phoned the police who said ,shoot them.He did.The owner complained and no one at the police would admit taking the phone call! The NFU eventually sorted it out and he was not prosecuted. I was taught to take troublesome dogs home twice.
 

slider

Well-Known Member
#19
As said, notify the Police so that it is on record. But be very careful - you do not have an absolute right to shoot the dogs. Get it wrong and you may be open to criminal charges and/or lose of your licence.

I am not protecting dog owners in any way here - simply putting out the.

The text below is copied from the National Sheep Association website.

Destroying dogs that attack

NSA recommends that farmers only shoot dogs as a last resort, as the legality of a shooting depends on whether a farmer had a lawful excuse for shooting the dog in that individual circumstance. If it is necessary to shoot an attacking dog, please bear in mind the following points:-

  • Dogs are counted as property so shooting a dog could trigger a criminal damage charge.
  • In order for a shooting to be legal, you would have to show that you acted in the belief that your property (i.e. the sheep) was in immediate danger and that your actions were reasonable under the circumstances. What counts as ‘reasonable’ can differ in individual cases, depending on the situation. If, for example, you have had problems with a particular dog before and the owner has ignored requests to keep it under control, this would be a relevant factor. It is important to remember that you are not entitled to shoot the dog if it has already left the vicinity and is no longer a direct danger to your sheep, even if you fear it might come back and pose a threat in the future.
  • There is also the possibility of the dog’s owner suing you for trespass to goods. The Animals Act 1971 offers you the defence that you were protecting livestock if you can show that you reasonably believed that either: the dog was worrying or about to worry the livestock and there were no other reasonable means of ending or preventing worrying; or the dog had been worrying livestock, had not left the vicinity and was not under the control of any person, and there were no practical means of finding out who owned it
  • You must report the shooting to the police within 48 hours. If you do not, none of these defences will be valid in civil proceedings.
  • Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to dogs (or other protected animals). The factors used to decide whether the suffering caused by shooting a dog is unnecessary include: whether the suffering could reasonably have been avoided or reduced; whether the act which caused the suffering was for a legitimate purpose, in this case protecting property or another animal; whether the suffering was proportionate the intention of the action; and whether the conduct was wholly that of a reasonably competent and humane person.
  • Although the Act makes allowance for what it calls ‘the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner’, the law is based so heavily on circumstance that it is very difficult to know if your actions will count as this. You are at particular risk of falling foul of this Act if you fail to kill the dog cleanly with one shot. Offences can be punished with up to six months’ imprisonment and/or fines of up to £20,000. You could also be disqualified from keeping animals.
  • Shooting a dog also puts you at risk of committing a firearms offence. You could be prosecuted for breaking certificate conditions if you use a rifle or other section 1 fire arm to shoot a dog, unless the certificate conditions allow such use. Chasing a dog in order to shoot it has been known to lead to prosecution for trespassing with a firearm. Firearms offences are usually punished with imprisonment unless they are minor technicalities. A police review of your right to possess firearms will almost certainly result from shooting a dog. Your certificates may be taken away with no guarantee of them being returned.
 

VSS

Well-Known Member
#20
This is a subject I know a bit about!
A few things to be aware of:
1) You do NOT have a RIGHT to shoot the dog, despite what anyone tells you. However, if you shoot a dog and the owner tries to prosecute you, your defence is that you were protecting your livestock (i.e., the dog was actually chasing your animals, or was out of control and about to do so).
2) The owner of the dog has committed an offence by allowing their dog to chase your animals, so it's highly unlikely that you'd be prosecuted anyway.
3) Never threaten to shoot someone's dog. Threatening behaviour with a shotgun will get you into worse throuble than shooting a dog. Either you just get on and do it, or you don't.
4) Always try to get a photo of the dog attacking the animals before you shoot it.
5) If possible, you should inform police of what you're about to do (although I appreciate this isn't always possible, as things happen too quickly).
6) IMMEDIATELY inform police after you've shot it (i.e., before the dog's owner has a chance to contact police).
7) DO NOT shoot a dog with a section 1 firearm unless it particularly specifies on your FAC that you can shoot animals for the purpose of protecting other animals (or whatever the exact wording is).
8) There are certain situations where you have no defence if you shoot a dog, for example if it is a working sheepdog, a working gundog, or a working foxhound.

Also, I don't know what part of Wales the OP is from, but NWP are taking a very tough line with dog owners these days, and will back up any livestock owner who shoots a dog, and will push for prosecution of the dog's owner.

(Edit: Slider's post above appeared while I was typing. You'll see that there are a few overlaps in the info provided. His info came straight from the NSA website, mine came from personal experience. However, as it happens I am a committee member of the NSA in Wales).
 

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