All dogs should be kept on a lead around sheep and other livestock by law to prevent “brutal and horrendous attacks”, Anglesey MP Virginia Crosbie has told ministers.

Ms Crosbie also called on the UK Government to introduce unlimited fines for the owners of dogs that attack farm animals, as she introduced her Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Bill.

She raised the case of Tecwyn Jones, a farmer from Bodedern, on Anglesey, who this year suffered a "horrific" attack on his livestock that left seven pregnant ewes and three rams dead.

"They had been killed by an unknown dog or dogs in Ynys Môn, what police described as a brutal and horrendous attack," the Conservative MP told the House of Commons.

Ms Crosbie went on to retell the farmer's "harrowing" account of the attack's aftermath.

"Tecwyn shared the awful moment when he found his sheep: coming across one dead sheep, then another dead sheep," the Ynys Môn MP said. "They were sheep he had lovingly reared, their faces torn and bodies twisted. His sheep had been brutally killed and had clearly suffered horrendously.

“His sheep had been brutally killed and had clearly suffered horrendously. The dog that carried out the attack has never been identified and even if the dog was suspected, the law has no teeth to identify and seize it unless it is found unsupervised at the scene of the assault."

Crosbie said Jones was "not alone" in experiencing dog attacks on his animals and "this is a huge issue for farmers across the UK".

"It is vital that dog owners who live near or visit land on which livestock is being raised understand that, even without physical contact, sheep can die or miscarry as a result of the distress and exhaustion caused by a dog chase," she told the Commons.

The MP proposes tightening current laws, describing the 1953 Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act as “outdated and no longer fit for purpose”.

"It is hardly surprising given that it has barely been touched in 68 years," she added, complaining that the law had "not kept pace" with modern trends in dog ownership or leisure, nor DNA technology and modern farming practices.

Meanwhile, the new Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, introduced to parliament this year, “still does not go far enough," she added, and "fails to give farmers the security they so desperately need".


The MP said there were estimates that as many as 15,000 sheep are killed by dogs each year, and cited National Farmers Union data which suggested the total cost of dog attacks for farmers in 2020 was estimated to be £1.3 million.

In her bill, she called for police to be able to seize dogs and take DNA samples if they believe that dog attacked livestock, and for placing dogs on a lead to become a legal requirement if they are near farm animals.

She also called for the £1,000 upper limit on fines for livestock worrying to be removed and replaced with an unlimited fine.

Crosbie said the bill was “not designed to persecute dogs or dog owners”.

She said: “I am a dog owner myself, as are most farmers, and none of us want to see dogs destroyed or owners made to suffer."

Tightening the laws will serve to educate dog owners by highlighting the problem, Crosbie told the Commons, citing research that 40 per cent of owners accept their dog could injure of kill a farm animal, while 64 per cent of owners admit to letting their pets roam free in the countryside. 

“We know in many cases the dogs that carry out livestock worrying will be otherwise loveable and good-natured family pets which abscond from their premises in the absence of their owner or are left off the lead on countryside walks.”

The bill is due for a second reading on September 10. It is unlikely to be passed without support from the Government.

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