MP backs new powers to tackle livestock worrying

Cattle and sheep graze on farmland
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Cattle and sheep graze on farmland
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Cattle and sheep graze on farmland (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Tougher powers are to be given to tackle the issue of dogs worrying livestock in the countryside.

The government has supported MP Dr Thérèse Coffey’s Private Members’ Bill – Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill – which was sponsored by 10 MPs, including Melton and Rutland’s Alicia Kearns.

This will make it easier for the police to collect evidence and, in the most serious cases, seize and detain dogs to reduce the risk of further attacks.

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The Bill would modernise existing legislation to ensure it remains fit for purpose, including extending the livestock definition to include alpacas and llamas and widening locations where enforcement can be taken to roads and paths.

Rutland and Melton MP Alicia KearnsRutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns
Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns

It will also give the police more powers to seize dogs after serious incidents and greater powers of entry, in addition to the power to take evidence samples from livestock and dogs to help investigate these crimes.

Since the original 1953 Act was brought in, the number of livestock in England and Wales has doubled with more people visiting the countryside.

Mrs Kearns said: “I have campaigned relentlessly for the urgent introduction of a livestock worrying law to put an end to the devastating financial and emotional damage it causes for our farmers.

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“I have supported this Bill from the outset, and I am relieved that the government has recognised the need for tougher powers to crackdown on this distressing offence.”

Farming Minister, Mark Spencer, commented: "We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”