Dog walkers urged to keep pets on leads after spate of attacks on sheep

Pictured alongside one of the new signs is Chris Scaife, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Countryside Access Officer.
Pictured alongside one of the new signs is Chris Scaife, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Countryside Access Officer.

A pilot initiative has been launched to remind dog owners that they must take responsibility for their pets when in the vicinity of a local farm.

The Hartlepool Borough Council initiative – which is also supported by Cleveland Police, the National Farmers Union, and the Kennel Club – has seen a number of new signs being erected at North Brierton Farm.

The signs – which will change depending on the season – advise walkers on areas of the farm where dogs can be let loose (green light) and areas where the council would prefer them not to venture (red) or kept on a lead (amber). When a red sign is in place an alternate route will be clearly signed.

Chris Scaife, countryside access officer with the council, said: “We started to think about this initiative after a spate of attacks on sheep by dogs in the summer of 2015.

“It is not a pleasant situation for farmers when their livestock is killed and it really can be prevented very easily.

“Farmers become emotionally attached to their livestock and they also lose revenue when attacks take place, often facing substantial vet bills.

“The signs will hopefully remind dog owners of their responsibilities and prevent any future attacks on sheep.

“We’re about to enter the lambing season when it’s particularly important dog owners keep their dogs on a lead at all times.”

Anyone with information about dogs not being kept on a lead that could be threatening livestock, should call the police on 101.