Plea for dog owners to keep dogs on leads amidst Easter rise in lifestock attacks across the Midlands - The Leamington Observer

Plea for dog owners to keep dogs on leads amidst Easter rise in lifestock attacks across the Midlands

Leamington Editorial 29th Mar, 2024   0

MIDLAND farmers are bracing for a potential surge in dog attacks this Easter weekend, as concerns build up over the safety of livestock in the region.

According to data from NFU Mutual, the cost of livestock injured or killed by dog attacks reached around £331,000 in the Midlands last year.

Newborn lambs and pregnant ewes are particularly vulnerable during this time of the year, making them easy targets for roaming dogs. With Easter expected to bring an influx of visitors to the countryside, NFU Mutual is urging dog owners to be cautious and responsibe when venturing into rural areas.

The warning follows a concerning trend revealed in the survey, which found that the amount of dog owners allowing their pets off leads in the countryside is increasing each year.

However, less than half of respondents (49 per cent) claimed that their dogs always came back when called, raising concerns about the ability to control pets around livestock.

Hannah Binns, NFU mutual rural affairs specialist, said the holidays were a great time to explore the Great British countryside, but people must remember the idyllic destinations are also working environments.




She added that the areas were key to farmers’ livelihoods as well as being home to millions of sheep and newborn lambs.

“This year’s lambing season is well under way across the UK, and farmers are understandably worried that an influx of out-of-control dogs this Easter could cause unnecessary carnage to newborn lambs out in the fields with their mothers for the first time.


“All dogs are capable of disturbing, chasing, attacking and killing farm animals, regardless of breed, size or temperament.

“That’s why we are urging everyone exercising their dogs in the countryside to keep them on a lead wherever livestock may be nearby but to let go if chased by cattle.”

Last year, Midland farmers endured the devastating impact of dog attacks, with 20 people arrested across the region for various offences, including theft of motor vehicles, domestic abuse, drug dealing, robbery, harassment, shoplifting, and theft from motor vehicles.

In light of these incidents, the NFU Mutual-backed Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill is making progress in Parliament, aimed at enhancing police powers to address dog attacks on livestock.

NFU encouraged dog owners to keep their dogs on leads when walking in rural areas and to be aware that all dogs can distress farm animals.

 

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