Skip to main content

Livestock worrying

Skip to contents of guide

Livestock worrying is a term used to describe a dog you own, or are in charge of, attacking or chasing livestock on agricultural land. Livestock include cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses or poultry. Agricultural land includes fields, pig and poultry farms, allotments, nurseries and orchards.

Dog owners

If you own or, or are in charge of, a dog when you are in an agricultural area you must:

  • keep your dog on a lead when you are near livestock
  • keep your dog in sight at all times
  • only walk where you have permission or on dedicated, marked footpaths
  • take bags with you to pick up your dog's waste

Livestock worrying is against the law and as a dog owner you may be fined for your dog's actions. Landowners are legally allowed to protect their livestock which means they can injure or kill any dog that is worrying or about to worry livestock.

Landowners and farmers

If you are a landowner or farmer and your livestock is being worried you must:

  • report the event to the police (using 999 if it is taking place or 101 if the dog has left the location)
  • take photos or videos of the dog and owner to help with evidence
  • record any treatment costs of your livestock
  • stay legal and remember that shooting a dog is the last resort

For more information about livestock worrying you can visit the National Sheep Association website.

The full legislation can be found at:

Have you encountered a problem with this page?