HC Deb 18 May 1950 vol 475 cc1388-9
54. Mr. Bossom

asked the Minister of Agriculture what information he has as to the number of lambs and sheep killed or worried by uncontrolled dogs last year in Kent; and what action he is taking to prevent this occurring again this year.

Mr. T. Williams

During 1949, the police in Kent were notified of 147 sheep killed and 76 sheep injured by dogs. Following discussions with the National Farmers' Union I have considered very carefully whether it is possible to do any more by legislative action to prevent such losses, but have come to the conclusion that none of the proposals discussed would be practicable and effective. In Kent, as elsewhere, local authorities have regulations which make it an offence to allow a dog to be out of control during the hours of darkness, and the police have certain powers to seize stray dogs. I understand that the Kent police are taking energetic action to enforce these provisions.

Mr. Bossom

Does not the Minister realise that this is a serious situation, and that not only during the hours of darkness but during the hours of daylight this condition prevails? Cannot he do something to help the police? The police would do their best if the Minister would give them some encouragement.

Mr. Williams

If the police have any recommendations to make as to what they think might be possible, and legislatively practicable, I will look at them.

Earl Winterton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the south of England generally great cruelty is caused to sheep and lambs by uncontrolled dogs? In view of the fact that animal welfare societies seem more interested in protecting dogs than sheep and lambs which are tortured by the dogs, will he take some action such as, for example, having notices put up calling attention to the grave damage which is being done?

Mr. Williams

The suggestion of the noble Lord might be taken note of by the Kent or Sussex police, but I do not think the dogs would worry about a notice.

Major Sir Thomas Dugdale

Will the right hon. Gentleman take note of the fact that the nuisance is not confined to Kent, but is universal throughout the country?

Mr. Williams

That is true to a greater or lesser extent.