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Holiday season linked to surge in dog attacks

A spike in dog attacks on sheep in the past month has been linked to the increase in walkers taking to the countryside in the summer holidays.


Alice   Singleton

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Alice   Singleton
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Terena Plowright, founder of Sheep Watch UK, suggested the rise in attacks up and down the country was due to the holiday season, with many people choosing to walk their dogs in the countryside to make the most of the good weather.


She said: "The number one issue is people going on countryside holidays to areas they are not familiar with and therefore will not be aware of where sheep are."


In the last week 40 sheep were killed in a single attack in Annascaul, Ireland, while a Soay ewe and three lambs were killed in Scarborough.


Ms Plowright said she did believe owners allowed their dogs to attack sheep deliberately, but a lack of education meant the issue showed no sign of abating any time soon.

 

Attack


"While it is clear the majority of dog owners do not deliberately allow their animals to attack, what people are not aware of is the fact 99 per cent of all dogs will attack – regardless of their size," said Ms Plowright.


"Education is the key to ensure dog owners know how to keep themselves, their dogs and a farmer’s livestock safe."

 

Officers from Police Scotland along with NFU Scotland have said they were disappointed to hear of the continuing rise of sheep worrying incidents.


Sergeant Michele Lindsay, at Penicuik Police Station, said: "We are working with farmers, landowners and businesses in the rural parts of Midlothian to raise awareness of such crimes and take measures to prevent them.


"Our advice to anyone walking and exercising their dogs in the countryside is to ensure they are under control at all times and avoid going into fields where livestock is grazing."

 

Impact

 

Kenny Slater, NFU Scotland group secretary in Kirkwall added the attacks on livestock can have a damage impact on farmers.

 

He said: "NFU Scotland strongly supports a robust approach to this issue, including prosecution of irresponsible dog owners.

 

"The worrying of sheep and other livestock by domestic dogs can have a very damaging impact on the livelihoods of farmers as well as cause significant and unnecessary distress to the animals themselves.

 

"Anyone walking their dog in the countryside should ensure they are familiar with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and also ensure their dogs are adequately controlled so that they are unable to cause distress or injury to farm animals.”

 


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FG Take The Lead campaign

FG Take The Lead campaign

With sponsorship from The Original Muck Boot Company, Farmers Guardian has been working alongside the British Veterinary Association and the National Sheep Association (NSA) to raise awareness of dog attacks via its Take the Lead campaign.

 

We have thousands of livestock worrying signs which you can nail to gateposts or fence posts near footpaths to highlight the problem to walkers.

 

If you would like some of these signs, please send astamped, self-addressed A4 envelope to:

 

FG Take the Lead,

Farmers Guardian,

Unit 4, Fulwood Business Park,

Preston,

Lancashire,

PR2 9NZ.

 

You will need at least three First Class or Second Class stamps on to cover postage costs. We will be able send up to 25 signs.

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