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It occurs if a dog is not kept under proper control and is dangerous. Generally a dog is regarded as not being under proper control if it is neither on a lead nor muzzled.
This is a criminal case which is committed the by owner as well as the person in charge of the dog. It has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a dog has worried livestock on agricultural land. The definition of livestock and agricultural land is contained in the Act.
Worrying is defined as:-
- attacking livestock
- chasing livestock in such a way that injury or suffering is likely to be caused (this includes indirect injury or harm)
- being at large (i.e. not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep
If convicted, it is punishable by a fine of up to £1000 plus costs, plus victim surcharge, plus compensation. The Court has no power to make any order in respect of the dog and so proceedings are usually doubled up with a complaint under Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871.
If you would like to look at the legislation click here.
Please note that the above summary only relates to the law in England and Wales. You must not rely on it as constituting legal advice and so for specific guidance on your particular doglaw issues please contact us – see our “How we can help” section for details.