A POLICE sergeant has questioned whether a theory test should be introduced for potential dog owners after a number of livestock worrying incidents. 

Sergeant Rob Simpson, from the Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team, is urging walkers to take more responsibility for their pets' actions.

It comes after several dogs in Cheshire were shot after becoming involved in livestock worrying incidents.

Sgt Simpson said: “In Cheshire we have sadly seen a number of dogs shot that were involved in 'worrying livestock' incidents and that responsibility is only on one person, the owner.

“As when you're driving a car, you are expected to know the laws, the same applies when owning a dog. Please do have a look at the 'Dogs (Protection of livestock) Act 1953'.

“Maybe there should be a theory test before having a dog? - personal thought that, not reflective of Cheshire Police's position on the topic.”

Northwich Guardian: Sergeant Rob SimpsonSergeant Rob Simpson (Image: Cheshire Police Rural Crime Team)

Sgt Simpson has advised that even 'very well-trained dogs' should be kept on leads when around livestock.

He urged owners of bigger breeds not to use flexi leads, as dogs can build up momentum and pull away from their owner's grasp.

Additionally, dog walkers should stick to the right of way to avoid trespassing and should keep their dogs on leads if they cannot see that the entire field is clear, as livestock may be hiding.

“If you feel that the laws, rules and guidance are restrictive, then maybe consider them before getting a dog as a pet,” Sgt Simpson said.

“We all need farmers in our lives, no matter what your diet is. If you like to eat, drink and wear clothes, a farmer has been involved along the way.

“So I think it's high time that we remember that, and at the very least, three times a day we benefit from what can take a whole year if not longer of hard work to produce.

“I will leave you with this. Your dog, your responsibility. The buck stops with you and you may end up answering questions in court and receiving a criminal record.

"You may end up losing your family pet, you may end up banned from having any more.”