The government has backed a Private Members’ Bill to amend the legislation around livestock worrying, meaning the bill is now likely to become law.
The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill, sponsored by Thérèse Coffey, will give the police greater powers and expand the range of animals and locations covered by livestock worrying rules.
Under the amended legislation, the police will have more powers to collect evidence samples from livestock and dogs, including being authorised to enter and search premises. They will also be able to seize and detain dogs after serious incidents.
Alpacas and llamas will be added to the list of animals covered by the legislation. The bill will also expand the places where the law can be enforced to include roads and paths.
The changes will update the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, which defines livestock worrying as a dog attacking or chasing livestock or being at large in a field or enclosure containing sheep, and will apply to England and Wales. Since the act was created, the amount of livestock in England and Wales has doubled.
Measures to tackle livestock worrying had previously been part of the government’s own Kept Animals Bill, which was dropped by ministers last year despite widespread support from animal welfare and veterinary organisations.
Farming minister Mark Spencer said: “Livestock worrying has a devastating impact, causing distress to farmers and their animals, as well as the financial implications.
“This bill will crack down on this issue, widening the scope to protect more farm animals covered by law and giving police more powers to act. We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”
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