POLICE have stepped up patrols around North Yorkshire farms over the bank holiday to help keep livestock safe from dog attacks.

Officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force and Neighbourhood Policing Teams having been visiting areas where sheep worrying incidents are regularly reported to reassure farmers, and speak to dog walkers.

The have been emphasising the devastating consequences of dog attacks on sheep, and the importance of keeping pets under control at all times.

So far this year, there have been 12 reports of such incidents in York and North Yorkshire, with every district in the county suffering at least one dog attack on livestock.

Half of these have occurred in April.

Police are supplying posters to farmers to put up on gates and near livestock fields to make dog owners aware of their responsibilities.

PCSO Matt Cockerill, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Task Force, said: “My colleagues and I have seen first-hand the awful impact of dog attacks on livestock. "It’s deeply distressing for farmers to find dead or dying animals, sometimes suffering from horrific injuries – not to mention the financial impact on their livelihoods.

“The truth is, any dog – regardless of how well-behaved they normally are – can very quickly get out of control around livestock.

"And even a dog just chasing a sheep can cause miscarriages of lambs in pregnant ewes.

“I want people to understand how important it is for the safety and welfare of livestock, and the dogs themselves, that owners keep their pets under control at all times.

"Otherwise, the consequences could be devastating for all parties involved.”