Police have reminded dogwalkers that farmers are allowed to kill pets that worry livestock.

This comes after a shepherd from Old Town with a farm on Swindon’s outskirts raised concerns about dogs fatally mauling her sheep, and about their irresponsible owners becoming abusive when asked to put leads on them.

PC Marc Jackson, from the Rural Crime Team at Wiltshire Police, said: “At this time of year, the number of livestock worrying cases reported to us tends to be low as most of the livestock has been moved indoors for the winter months.

“Any incidents of livestock worrying are taken very seriously as it is a criminal offence under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.

"If dogs attack or chase livestock causing injury and suffering, it not only threatens the farmer's livelihood but also puts the animals in a dangerous situation.

“We would always advise dog owners to keep their pets under control around other animals, and warn that a farmer is allowed to kill the dog if it’s worrying their livestock.

“If you see a dog out of control, please let us know by reporting online at wiltshire.police.uk or calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.”