FOLLOWING a number of incidents where livestock have been attacked on the Isle of Wight, the police have issued a warning to dog owners.

There have been two attacks in recent weeks at Merstone and Niton, with more than 25 animals killed.

Police Staff Investigator Melody Manning said today (Friday) the worrying of livestock by dogs was a criminal offence.

"We would like to remind dog owners of the importance of being in full control when in the countryside and around livestock and wild animals," he said.

"If an animal is injured or dies as a result of a dog attack, the animal’s owner has the right to seek compensation. This can be from the dog owner or the person in control of it when the attack occurred. This can include the cost of the animal, vet bills and the cost of removing and destroying it.

"Owners often voice surprise when their dog chases an animal, but this is an innate part of a dog’s behaviour. In the event of livestock being seriously injured or killed, the owner or person in control of the dog can be prosecuted. The dog can also be shot by the farmer to end an attack."

They have issued advice to dog owners which includes keeping dogs on leads when livestock are in the area. When no livestock are visible, owners should keep the dog in sight at all times and be confident it will return on command. Owners should also ensure dogs do not stray off the path or area where there is right of access.