Proposals to give police greater powers to respond to incidents of dogs attacking or chasing livestock have moved closer to becoming law.

Conservative former environment secretary Therese Coffey wants to introduce a series of measures designed to make it easier for police to catch offenders and secure more prosecutions connected to livestock worrying.

Her Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill applies to England and Wales and revives plans paused by the Government last year.

The Bill has Government backing and received an unopposed second reading on Friday, February 2.

The Northern Farmer:

Ms Coffey told the Commons: “Livestock worrying is an issue of significant concern for farmers and rural communities, providing much distress and cost for animals and farmers.

“Livestock worrying is already an offence through the 1953 Act but the police have sought greater powers to be able to more effectively detect and enable prosecution for such offences.”

Ms Coffey said of her Bill: “(It) extends the area covered to beyond the land to a road or path and that is to address attacks where livestock are moved to different parts of the farm.”

The Northern Farmer: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Therese Coffey, arrives in Downing Street, Westminster, London, ahead of the first Cabinet meeting with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister on Wednesday

She added: “It allows the dogs to be detained to try and avoid further attacks while an owner is awaiting trial for such an offence.

“It allows for more modern ways to gather evidence from a dog, including taking dental impressions and other relevant samples.

“It updates the fines that can be imposed and this Bill will include camelids – alpacas and llamas – in the definition of livestock for the purposes of the 1953 Act.”

She added: “We do want to see an effective deterrent to this kind of harm to livestock. I believe this Bill will achieve that.”

Environment minister Mark Spencer said in a statement: “This Bill will crack down on this issue, widening the scope to protect more farm animals covered by law and giving police more powers to act.

“We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”

The Bill will undergo further scrutiny at a later stage.