Milverton, Somerset

Sheep worrying

Sheep worrying and attacks have increased over the last year in particular with the most recent incident happening in a field in Milverton.

Key facts

  • More than 1,800 farm animals have been killed by dog attacks in the past four years
  • 92 dogs have been shot as a result of sheep worrying between 2013 and 2017
  • The cost of sheep worrying claims in 2017 amounted to £1.6 million for NFU Mutual, alone
  • Increased housing in rural areas means the chances of attacks have increased rapidly
  • Sheep worrying can cause ewes to miscarry and lambs to be separated from their mothers
  • Reports of sheep worrying rose 67 per cent between the years of 2015 and 2017
  • In 79 per cent of cases, the owner of the dog was not present

What to do if it happens to you

  • Divert or restrict footpaths during lambing season
  • Report any and all attacks to the police, no matter how small
  • Put signs up advising dog owners of any livestock that might be in fields
  • Consider adding a contact number to these signs for reporting any incidents
  • Social media has become a tool for raising awareness and showing the real damage sheep worrying causes. Share your stories on social media and join community pages so your local area can be informed

What dog owners can do

  • If you’re walking in rural areas, keep your dog on a lead at all time – especially if there are grazing sheep about
  • Keep a check on fences and gates in order to keep your garden as secure as possible t to prevent dogs getting out
  • Seek a dog trainer to teach your dog how to behave around sheep and other livestock
  • Having your dog’s favourite toy or ball or ‘high value’ treats with you when you go out may also make it easier to divert their attention away from sheep and other livestock

Louise Fyne