Dog owners are being urged to understand the law amid reports of livestock being badly injured and killed as we enter the peak lambing season in the Thames Valley.

The CLA South East, which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, is offering advice to dog owners to help avoid problems this season.

Livestock worrying can have serious effects on animals including stress, injury, abortion and death, with several incidents reported in 2019 already.

Rural adviser Megan Lock said: “We would advise owners to keep their dogs on a lead or under close control when walking through fields of livestock, particularly sheep at this time of year, and to always stick to public rights of ways.

“It is the owner’s responsibility to keep their dog under control. Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and a fine of £1,000 can be handed out.”

Where a dog is in the act of worrying livestock and there is, or is likely to be, serious damage to those livestock, call 999 immediately.