Is snaring or poisoning foxes legal?
Q Lambing season has just started on our farm and already we are having big problems with foxes attacking the lambs. There has always been a risk of fox attacks over the years but this season is worse than usual in our area. Also, for the last week or so, I have been observing a neighbour's dog that is regularly around the gate of the field with young lambs. What can I do, if anything, about a dog attacking my sheep?
A Lambing season is well and truly upon us and most farmers will be all too aware of the risks that foxes and other predators pose to newborn lambs. Legally and from a farming perspective, there is no one-size-fits-all solution but you should be aware of what actions you are permitted to take when it comes to controlling predators.
Control of Dogs
Many farmers know their duty under the law in the case of domestic animals like their cattle and sheep; liability for dogs has separate rules to those applied in the case of other animals.
For instance, in the case of injury or damage to livestock which is caused by a dog, the owner is responsible, regardless of the dog having previously attacked or having a 'mischievous tendency'.
In the case of dogs frightening/attacking sheep and causing injury either through death as a result of fright/loss of unborn lambs/death of lambs by attack, farmers can make a claim against the dog owner where they have evidence to show that the injury was a direct result of the actions of the dog.
An example would be a statement from a vet which indicates that a dog caused the injuries.
Farmers intending to make a claim must also be able to show what dog caused the injuries. This may be difficult where there has been no physical attack - only fear.