NEW measures to crack down on devastating livestock worrying are set to be introduced in England and Wales through the Kept Animals Bill, which was introduced to Parliament.

Police will be given additional powers to seize dogs after serious incidents and collect evidence to investigate crimes, with most cases of livestock worrying failing to end in prosecution because of a lack of evidence.

At the moment, police can only seize a dog for the purpose of identifying the owner, and it has to be returned afterwards.

The courts will also be given the power to issue dog control, disqualification and destruction orders upon conviction.

National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker said: “Our sheep worrying survey highlighted the continued increase year-on-year of these devastating attacks and underlined the significant emotional cost experienced by farmers.Due to the pandemic, there are more people with more time to walk dogs than in the past and dog ownership has increased markedly, all of which have added to an increased threat to livestock and livelihoods. We hope this Bill will strengthen legislation to support local police forces and rural crime teams in resolving and hopefully stopping these incidents.”