Members of the public have been urged by police and farming unions to keep their dogs on leads as farmers continue to suffer the financial and emotional effects of livestock worrying.
Following a recent attack in County Down which saw a sheep killed, Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) deputy president Victor Chestnutt expressed his disappointment that farmers were still paying for a ’lack of respect’ for the rules of the countryside.
Mr Chestnutt said: “It is a harrowing sight to see poor defenceless animals such as sheep fall victim to dog(s).
“If a dog were to engage in a chase, this could result in the injury or death of those sheep who fall foul to the actions of irresponsible dog owners.
“Sheep that have been chased by dogs and survived never fully recover from the attack. This can result in serious financial loss and stress for the farmer, not forgetting the long-term effects of increased levels of depression and disorientation amongst the flock.”
The warning comes as lockdown restrictions ease further across the UK, with more visitors to the countryside and reports of livestock attacks.
North Yorkshire Police issued a plea to dog owners after two separate incidents took place in Harrogate and Richmondshire within 24 hours.
Police officers were called to a field in Arkengarthdale on Saturday July 11 after a German Pointer was seen chasing and attacking sheep, although the injuries are not thought to be serious.
A day later (July 12), police were called to a farm near Thurscross Reservoir, Harrogate, by a farmer who had caught a dog attacking his lamb.
It is believed the husky had managed to get away from its owner before running through a fence, with police issuing a community resolution since the farmer was content with an apology.
Estimates by NFU Mutual suggest livestock attacks nationally cost farmers £1.2m in 2019.
Police have stressed the importance of reporting all livestock worrying incidents for investigation.
Farmers Guardian’s Take the Lead campaign continues to raise awareness of sheep worrying incidences caused by dog attacks.
The campaign, launched in April 2014, has gained huge industry backing over its time, helping to raise awareness among the British public about livestock worrying and speaking up for our readers’ concerns.
More than 60,000 free signs have been sent out, spurring awareness not seen before in regards to livestock worrying.
Farmers Guardian have 1,000s of Take the Lead gatepost signs to give away.
Please send a self-addressed A4 envelope to:
Farmers Guardian Take the Lead
Unit 4 Fulwood Business Park