Flock of sheep© Tim Scrivener

Farmers and police hope a film highlighting the devastating impact of dog attacks on livestock will deliver a hard-hitting message to owners.

North Wales Police (NWP) rural crime team’s first educational film – Livestock Education and Dogs (Lead), was released on 14 July.

The film, shot on location in North Wales by SkyWebMedia/Fassen8 Productions, carries a simple message to dog owners: “Keep your dogs on a lead around livestock, especially sheep.”

See also: Concern as figures show livestock worrying on the rise

It includes interviews with the police, farmers, dog owners and veterinary surgeons as well as disturbing footage of the aftermath of dog attacks on sheep.

In the past 12 months, about 100 incidents of dogs savaging sheep have been recorded in North Wales.

Sergeant Rob Taylor, of NWP, said: “The problems we have had of dog attacks on sheep are mainly caused by owners not keeping their dogs on leads.

“This can be owners letting their dogs loose in the garden, going to work and not realising they are gone.

“For the first time ever in the UK we have filmed a 15-minute documentary which focuses on the problem of sheep attacks.

“The film offers a really good insight into the problems and how it can help the public prevent their dog from being destroyed or facing a big court fine.”

Partnership approach

Sgt Taylor said by working closely with farmers and the media, police in North Wales were finally getting the message across to the public about the consequences of livestock worrying.

“The big message is, there are no winners with this.

“The sheep gets brutalised, the farmer has to deal with the cost and also the harrowing implications of seeing the sheep injured,” added Sgt Taylor.

“My team has to deal with the horrendous injuries when they turn up at the scene after an attack.

“For owners there is the risk of their dogs being shot at the scene and being taken to court.”

Criminal offence

The film is the brainchild of celebrity farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, who farms at Tyn Llwyfan Farm in hills above Llanfairfechan in Snowdonia and featured on the BBC’s The Hill Farm.

He said: “We don’t want to close the countryside, but we want to make sure we have a countryside which is safe for the people are walking in it, the animals and the surroundings.”

The film was officially launched at the Royal Welsh Show where it was played on a continuous loop.