Animals Act 1971

When out and about in the country, keep your pet & livestock safe by ensuring your pet is on a lead. Sheep are very timid animals and scare easily. Pregnant ewes can also miscarry when spooked and frightened. A farmer is not going to be impressed when his livelihood is lost. Some do place electric fences around their livestock, which could harm your pet if not under control.

Under this act, prosecution can arise if your dog has been attacking or chasing livestock in such a way that it could reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or, in the case of females, abortion or the loss or diminution of their produce.

An offence is not committed if, at the time of the worrying, the livestock were trespassing, the dog belonged to the owner of the land on which the trespassing livestock were and the person in charge of the dog did not cause the dog to attack the livestock. This also includes cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses and poultry. Game birds are not included.

Under the Animals Act 1971 a dog may be shot, without warning, by a farmer for worrying his livestock and the owner could face criminal prosecution for the same offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.

For full information on the Law & your pet, visit