Police in England are prepared to receive enhanced authority to combat livestock worrying through new proposals aimed at acquiring more prosecutions. Thérèse Coffey, the former Defra Secretary, is directing measures intended to facilitate easier identification of irresponsible dog owners.

Earlier this year, the government paused plans for comprehensive animal welfare protections, including strengthening laws on livestock worrying. Coffey's upcoming Private Member’s Bill, typically more focused than government legislation, seeks to empower police in handling what is currently defined as livestock-related issues.

READ MORE | Police warn dog owners of livestock worrying consequences

Though not incorporating all government-proposed measures, the new bill by Coffey won't extend protection to animals like emus and llamas. Instead, it emphasises expanding police powers concerning current livestock definitions.

Richard Findlay, NFU Livestock Board chair, appreciated these new proposals, highlighting the distress caused by dog attacks on livestock and emphasising responsible conduct by dog owners in rural areas.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill, aiming to alter the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, is scheduled for its second reading in February 2024. Coffey’s initiative aims to equip police with broader capabilities to address irresponsible dog ownership, incorporating measures such as enhanced seizure powers and facilitating the collection of evidence.

Coffey highlighted the need to address concerns among farmers about inadequate punishments for offenders. Strengthening the law, she believes, will act as a substantial deterrent against irresponsible behaviour and increase police efficiency in handling such cases.