Hello. I have just joined the forum. My name is Alexander and I own two Spaniels, one is a Cocker and the other a Springer, they are both working gun dogs. The other day I was walking them along a public road when one of them got close to a fence and startled some sheep that I had not seen. I used my whistle to recall my dogs who came back straight away.Within a couple of minutes I was accosted by a woman who said she had seen the sheep run away and informed me that technically my dogs had worried her livestock and could be shot. I told her I was on a public road and that she had no right to threaten me. As a consequence of this incident I did some research and found the following on another website. In brief the law is: 1. A farmer commits a criminal offence in threatening to shoot a dog, and also in actually shooting a dog, unless he honestly believed his livestock was 'in immediate need of protection' and that the means of protection adopted or proposed to be adopted were or would be reasonable having regard to all the circumstances. So where shouting, throwing something or shooting over the head would be enough, then that is what should be done first to avoid committing an offence. (Criminal Damage Act 1971). 2. The dog owner can sue the farmer for compensation, and his only defence to killing a dog is he believed and had reasonable grounds for that belief, that either 'there was no other reasonable means of ending or preventing the worrying' or if the owner is not there, that there was no practicable means of ascertaining to whom it belongs. He must also have reported the shooting to the police within 48 hours. The dog owner has 6 years in which to bring an action for compensation. Some dogs are highly valuable. (Animals Act 1971). 3. The dog owner commits an offence if (a) their dog is in a field with livestock worrying them, Worrying means attacking livestock, or chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce; or (b) their dog is not under control in a field with sheep, even if he was not worrying them, but a police dog, a guide dog, trained sheep dog, a working gun dog or a pack of hounds are all excluded. (Protection of Livestock Act 1953). I hope this helps and informs people. Like a lot of people have said it is always better to air on the side of caution as many farmers think they are a law unto themselves. I did not pursue this matter any further as we have only just moved into a small village and did not want to rock the boat as it were.