Police officers in South Yorkshire are urging dog owners to keep their pets on leads while around livestock, particularly during the lambing season.
Farmers in Sheffield have been calling South Yorkshire Police to express concerns at the number of dogs being allowed to walk off their leads around their livestock in their fields.
Police said farmers are particularly concerned now that it is lambing season, with sheep at risk of going into early labour or miscarrying through the shock of being chased by a loose dog.
The force is warning dog owners that if they fail to control their dogs or they causes injury or damage, they could be liable for prosecution under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act and the Dangerous Dogs Act.
Police Constable Chris Parker, based in Woodseats, Sheffield, said: “Dogs who worry or chase livestock may be acting on their natural instinct, but the health risks this poses to animals is staggering.
“Pregnant animals can miscarry or go into early labour, which is incredibly distressing for both the animal and the farmer.
“Even if the dog doesn’t attack or injure the livestock, the presence of a dog can be enough to send animals into shock, which causes additional health problems and sadly, many animals have to be euthanised after a dog attack.
“We are doing what we can to educate dog owners, not just in Sheffield but across South Yorkshire.
“Don’t run the risk of prosecution and keep your dogs on a lead while around livestock.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101.