MP Urges Reform of Livestock Worrying Legislation
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MP Urges Reform of Livestock Worrying Legislation

A proposal to amend the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Bill is set to be discussed in parliament next year. The proposed changes aim to clarify what constitutes an offence and to give authorities increased powers to investigate suspected offences.

Sir Robert Goodwill, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) select committee, is in support of the legislation due to the rising number of dog attacks harming animals and farmers. In May, North Yorkshire Police reported that 39 sheep in the county had died as a result of dog attacks.

Scarborough and Whitby MP, Sir Robert Goodwill, expressed concern over the increasing number of dog attacks on sheep, highlighting the detrimental impact on animal welfare and the financial burden on farmers in marginal areas.

The proposed legal change has garnered support from more than 10 Conservative MPs. It aims to revise the law on the offence of livestock worrying and seeks to increase powers for the investigation of suspected offences.

Under current laws, farmers are permitted to shoot dogs causing distress to livestock, and dog owners can face fines of up to £1,000 for sheep worrying. North Yorkshire Police have observed a significant increase in the number of dog owners visiting the countryside since the Covid-19 pandemic and have called for better awareness of the law.