A MEMBER of the Senedd (MS) whose dog was attacked by another just last year has called for responsible ownership as summer approaches.

As the days lengthen and more of us are getting out into the countryside, people are being reminded to keep their dogs under control around livestock, as well as around other animals and people.

One of those backing that reminder is Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant following his own personal experience of a dog attack last October. 

Mr Sargeant and his King Charles cavalier, Coco, were attacked by two Staffordshire Bull Terriers during the incident.

A member of the public who intervened was bitten during the attack, Mr Sargeant was left with minor injuries and Coco was seriously injured, but thankfully survived.

The MS recently met with Blue Cross pet charity to hear about its recommendations to improve responsible dog ownership in Wales.

The Welsh Government responsible dog ownership summit in October 2023 was a successful first step which Blue Cross is calling the Government to build on.

Mr Sargeant said: “I know first hand the impact irresponsible dog ownership can have on communities and individuals. My dog Coco and I were recently attacked by two bull terriers who had been allowed to run loose by their owner.

"The owner had left them to escape from a side gate and they attacked Coco and myself as I fought to defend her."


He added: "I welcome the Blue Cross campaign and the work my friend and colleague Carolyn Thomas is doing to promote it."

Carolyn Thomas MS for the North Wales region, sponsor for the event Mr Sargeant attended, added: “I am getting behind Blue Cross and the charity’s calls to improve responsible dog ownership in my region.

"I will be calling on colleagues across all parties to make this happen and do what we can to ensure dogs are well behaved family pets and prevent any further tragic attacks in Wales, regardless of breed.”

With lambing season well underway, and ewes and lambs a common sight in fields across Wales, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths and Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator Rob Taylor also want to ensure dog owners understand their responsibilities.

They say that there continues to be too many dog attacks on sheep and other livestock which have emotional, financial and animal welfare implications.

Dog owners should familiarise themselves with Natural Resources Wales’ Countryside Code. This includes:

  • Keeping dogs on a lead or in sight and owners should be confident they will return on command.
  • Dogs should not stray from the path or area where there is a right of access.
  • On open access land, dogs must be on a lead between 1 March and 31 July, even if there are no livestock present. This is a legal requirement.

Lesley Griffiths said: “Responsible dog ownership is key in keeping lambs, sheep and all other livestock safe.

“We know most dog owners do the right thing in keeping their dogs under control, but there are some who do not.

“There have been harrowing images of when attacks do happen and by taking the appropriate steps these can be prevented.”

Rob Taylor said: “Attacks on livestock are completely preventable through responsible dog ownership. Sadly, attacks on pregnant ewes or newborn lambs at this time of year do still occur.

“We ask that owners are aware of the risks, use a precautionary approach in controlling their dog and understand the route on which they take them to exercise.

“An attack on livestock may result in their pet being shot, or euthanised on a court order. Nobody wants to see that happening.”