Council issues warning to dog owners about livestock worrying

19th February 2021

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has issued a reminder to dog owners to keep their dogs under control near livestock at all times.

With lambing season now started, the Council is keen to highlight the issue of dog worrying of livestock and its potential consequences.

Worrying livestock can involve a dog chasing livestock in such a way as could reasonably be expected to cause some form of suffering to the animals, attacking or killing cattle or sheep.

Since January 2020, there have been 28 cases of livestock worrying in the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is reminding dog owners of their responsibility to ensure their dog is kept under control near livestock at all times and to keep their dogs secure at night.

Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Diana Armstrong, said:

“Although the vast majority of dogs are well looked after and are friendly family pets, all dogs have the potential to inflict injury and to worry livestock. Livestock worrying by dogs particularly of sheep during lambing season is a concern for farmers at this time and can have serious consequences for the animal’s welfare. I would ask all dog owners to always act responsibly by keeping their dog under control.”

Under the terms of the Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983, it is a criminal offence allow a dog on any land containing livestock unless the dog is under control.

The Order defines ‘under control’ as ‘restrained by a chain or other sufficient leash held by a person exercising proper control over the dog’. The Order also states that if a dog worries sheep (attacks or kills sheep or chases them in a way that may cause injury, suffering or financial loss to their owner) the person in charge of that dog is guilty of an offence. A court may order the dog to be destroyed and a civil case may also be brought against the dog owner by the farmer for any financial loss suffered.

For further information please click on this link.


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

To stop dogs worrying livestock dog owners should keep a dog on a lead at all times if walking in rural areas; check garden fences and gates are in order to keep gardens secure; and seek a dog trainer to educate your dog on how to behave around sheep and other livestock. Having your dog’s favourite toy or ball with you when you go out for a walk may also help to divert the dog’s attention away from sheep or livestock.

Anyone who witnesses a dog worrying or attacking livestock should report it to the Council’s Dog Warden team by telephoning 0300 303 1777, text phone 028 8225 6216. For more information on the topic of livestock worrying please visit the Council website at