With lambing season underway, the Welsh government has issued a reminder to dog owners to keep their dogs under control around livestock.

Minister for rural affairs Lesley Griffiths and rural and wildlife crime coordinator Rob Taylor said owners of dogs need to understand their responsibilities.

The Welsh government said there continues to be too many dog attacks on sheep and other livestock which have emotional, financial and animal welfare implications.

Dog owners have been urged to familiarise themselves with Natural Resources Wales’ Countryside Code.

The code includes keeping dogs on a lead or in sight, in which cases owners should be confident they will return on command.

Dogs should also not stray from the path or area where there is a right of access.

On open access land, dogs must be on a lead between March 1 and July 31, even if there are no livestock present. This is a legal requirement.

Livestock safety

Rural affairs minister, Lesley Griffiths said responsible dog ownership is key in keeping lambs, sheep and all other livestock safe.

“We know most dog owners do the right thing in keeping their dogs under control, but there are some who do not,” she said.

“There have been harrowing images of when attacks do happen and by taking the appropriate steps these can be prevented.”

Wales’ rural and wildlife crime coordinator, Rob Taylor said: “Attacks on livestock are completely preventable through responsible dog ownership.

“Sadly, attacks on pregnant ewes or newborn lambs at this time of year do still occur. We ask that owners are aware of the risks, use a precautionary approach in controlling their dog and understand the route on which they take them to exercise.

“An attack on livestock may result in their pet being shot, or euthanised on a court order. Nobody wants to see that happening.”