In-calf cow dies after being chased by teens

Police in Devon are appealing for information after a cow and her unborn calf died after being chased by youths with a dog.

Officers said reports were made of teenagers chasing cows in the field in Axminster on two separate occasions this month.

A spokesman said: “On May 9, 2020, on private land at White bridges Axminster, it was reported that a group of youths with a dog chased a cow who was heavily pregnant and she and her unborn calf died as a result.

“Again on May 15, 2020, it was reported to police that a group of teenage youths were chasing cows in the field on Castle Hill.”

The force confirmed this was an offence under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 under the term “worrying livestock”.

The police definition of “worrying” includes:

  • Attacking livestock;
  • 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;
  • Being at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.

“The owner of the livestock or the land (farmer) or any authorised person may kill or injure a dog in order to protect the livestock. This includes shooting a dog that is worrying or attacking their livestock,” the spokesman said.

He added that witnesses to worrying incidents should call ‘999’ while the incident is happening.