DOG owners have been urged to take steps to prevent livestock worrying.

North Wales' rural police team issued the call to the public on Tuesday morning.

A spokesman for the team addressed dog walkers planning to take advantage of the sun and walk through the scenic farming fields North Wales has to offer.

"Whilst you do so there are a few points to keep in mind, such as sheep farming in rural areas is a main income for farms, and protecting their livestock is paramount.

"It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep.

"Worrying includes attacking or chasing sheep and, in some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep.

"It is vital to keep your dog on the lead around livestock, even if you can usually trust it to come to call.

"If you live in or near a farming area, you must make sure that your dog cannot escape from your property, as it may find its way onto land containing sheep."

The Free Press reported in May how Denbighshire County Councillor and farmer Huw Williams made an impassioned plea to dog walkers after a lamb was attacked.

Following North Wales Police's call to the public on Tuesday, Cllr Williams said: "It's definitely a good bit of advice - there are designated areas, especially at Moel Famau, where you can leave your dogs off leads and areas with no livestock.

"People say to me 'oh my dog wouldn't do that' - but it's natural for them to hunt. They are predators.

"I was up at Moel Famau with the rural police again on Saturday, campaigning to people to keep dogs on leads.

"There are signs and banners everywhere, but the amount of people who still don't have their dogs on a lead is unbelievable.

"And when you ask them why, they have no answer.

"It's so frustrating. Everyone's working so hard and it's the small minority who spoil it."

Cllr Williams said he wants to emphasise to dog owners that if their animals attack livestock, they can expect legal action.

"We need to teach people a lesson to people that if their dogs kill sheep in places like Moel Famau," he said, "it's going to hit them in the pocket."

He explained sheep attacks also have a significant on farmers themselves; financially and emotionally.

Cllr Williams added: "If you put a lamb at £100 a piece - that might be someone's profit.

"Not only that, but the genes of the ewes we have up there go back 300 years; by losing them you're jeopardizing the flock.

"And when you've spent 18 hours lambing the sheep in the cold, wet, wind, frost; to see something you've produced being slaughtered by an irresponsible dog owner, it is absolutely heart-breaking."