Council highlights consequences of livestock worrying 

15th February 2023

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FODC Livestock Worrying

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is warning dog owners of the importance of keeping dogs under control near livestock. 

Dog worrying of livestock, particularly during lambing season, is a key concern for farmers.  Worrying of livestock does not just mean attacking or killing an animal; it includes chasing livestock and causing serious stress which results in any form of suffering to the animal. 

Under the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, it is an offence to allow a dog onto land containing livestock if it is not under control and to cause worrying to any animal.  The Order defines ‘under control’ as ‘restrained by a chain or other sufficient leash held by someone exercising proper control over the dog’. 

The person in charge of any dog that is guilty of such an offence is liable to a fine of up to £1,000 and a court may call for the dog to be destroyed. 

Speaking about livestock worrying, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Barry McElduff, said: 

“The Council recognises that the vast majority pf dogs are friendly family pets and are kept under control by their owners when in the vicinity of other people and animals. 

Livestock worrying can cause significant distress to animals in terms of injury or death.  It can also lead to distress and financial loss for the owners. 

I would urge all dog owners to keep their dog on a lead at all times when walking in rural areas, particularly where there are sheep grazing. 

I would also encourage dog owners to ensure that fences and hedges at their house are secure to prevent dogs from getting out, particularly at night.” 

Authorised Council Officers have the authority to seize any dog suspected of being involved in worrying or attacking livestock. 

Officers respond to all incidents of worrying or attacks that are reported to the Dog Control Service.  The Council would encourage anyone who witnesses a livestock worrying incident, to report this to the Dog Control Service on 0300 303 1777.