HC Deb 13 July 1978 vol 953 c769W
Mr. Geraint Howells

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many sheep have been killed by dogs in England during the last six months; what were the corresponding figures for the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Strang

Statistics on this, based on police returns to local authorities, are available only for complete calendar years. Those for 1977 and the previous decade are as follows:

Sheep killed by dogs in England 1967–1977
Year No.
1967 2,785
1968 1,923
1969 2,500
1970 2,417
1971 1,921
1972 1,963
1973 2,574
1974 (a)
1975 2,067
1976 1,788
1977 1,856

Note: (a) Not available owing to local Government reorganisation.

I am advised that no significant trend can be discerned in these figures, and I accept that sheep losses of this kind continue to give cause for concern. However, the hon. Member will be aware that the Animals Act 1971 provides a defence for owners of livestock who take reasonable action against marauding dogs and that under the Criminal Justice Act 1977 owners of dogs that worry livestock are now exposed to a far higher maximum fine.