HC Deb 21 June 1951 vol 489 cc681-2
6. Mr. Hurd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of sheep worrying by dogs have been proved before magistrates' courts in the past year; and in how many instances the magistrates have admonished the owners without ordering the dogs to be destroyed.

Mr. Ede

I regret that this information is not available.

Mr. Hurd

As the worrying of sheep by dogs has become such a serious menace in many districts, will the right hon. Gentleman see if it is possible to provide these figures so that we may know whether there has been an improvement or whether the position is deteriorating?

Mr. Ede

I hope that the publicity of this Question and answer will attract the attention of magistrates to the public interest in the matter.

Earl Winterton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there have been a number of other Questions on this subject in which attention has been called to the great damage caused to the farming community and the intense cruelty occasioned to the sheep, but that nothing has happened? There has been an astonishing absence of any statement by any of the so-called animal protection societies, who are apparently more concerned with the interests of the dogs than the poor tortured sheep. Will he circularise magistrates on the subject?

Mr. Ede

I do not think that a circular would have any marked effect. I can only hope that any magistrates who may have been reluctant to do their duty in the past will notice the opinions expressed in the House.

Mr. Bossom

Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire into the terrible situation on the Romney Marsh, Kent, where great cruelty is being caused to sheep? Attacks by tremendous numbers of dogs are still occurring. Can the right hon. Gentleman do something to stop this?

Mr. Ede

I will make inquiries into it.