Up to 70 sheep have been found dead on a farm in Cumbria in a suspected livestock worrying attack last week.

The sheep were in a field off the Orton Road, Dalston when the incident happened on Monday (February 11).

The stock killed in the attack have been valued locally at between £10,500 and £15,000.

Police Constable Helen Branthwaite, Wildlife Coordinator said: “We take these incidents very seriously.

Sheep worrying is a criminal offence - as well as the injury and suffering inflicted upon the animals it can cause a huge financial cost to the farmer and ultimately lead to the prosecution of the owner or person in control of the dog at the time.

“We would urge people to take steps to keep their dogs under control near livestock, using a lead in areas near livestock and keeping a distance and only letting dogs off their lead in areas without livestock."

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Livestock worrying

Livestock worrying is a criminal offence under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 and does not require an animal to be injured.

Allowing a dog to be off a lead or otherwise not under close control in a field or enclosure of sheep is an offence.

The penalty for livestock worrying can be six months' imprisonment and a fine of up to £1,000.

An officer explained that while worrying is traditionally thought of as a dog biting or attacking livestock, it also includes:

  • Chasing livestock in such a way as may be reasonably expected to cause injury or suffering; in the case of ewes, this includes abortion or loss or reduction in the number of offspring she has.
  • Not having a dog on a lead or under close control when close by, or in a field or enclosure with livestock.

If you see anything suspicious call '101'. Or if you see a dog worrying or attacking livestock please call police on: 999.