Heavily pregnant cow and unborn calf die as youths chase cattle in Axminster

A heavily pregnant cow and her unborn calf died after cattle were chased by youths and a dog in Axminster, say police.

Officers in rural East Devon have issued a warning over ‘livestock worrying’ after receiving two reports of youngsters distressing animals in the area this month.

Members of the public who see the offence being committed have been urged to dial 999 straight away.

A spokesperson for the Rural East Devon Police team said: “Police in Axminster have had reports whereby on both occasions youths were reported to have chased cows.

“On May 9, on private land at Whitebridges, Axminster, it was reported that a group of youths with a dog chased a cow who was heavily pregnant and she and her unborn calf died as a result.

“Again, on May 15, it was reported to police that a group of teenage youths were chasing cows in the field on Castle Hill.

“This is an Offence under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 under the term ‘worrying livestock’.”

Police say the term ‘worrying’ means:

  • Attacking livestock;
  • Chasing livestock in such a way as may be reasonably expected to cause injury or suffering; in the case of ewes, this includes abortion or loss or reduction in the number of offspring;

“Being at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep,” said the spokesperson.

“The owner of the livestock or the land (farmer) or any authorised person may kill or injure a dog in order to protect the livestock. This includes shooting a dog that is worrying or attacking their livestock.

“Should anyone witness such incidents please report on 999 at the time of it happening.”

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