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Sheep worrying claims rise as 7% of dog walkers admit to letting their pets chase livestock

60 per cent of dog owners also said they let their pets roam off the lead in the countryside.


Lauren   Dean

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Lauren   Dean
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Sheep worrying claims rise to £1.6m as 7 per cent of dog walkers admit to letting their pets chase livestock #FGTakeTheLead

Livestock farmers have been blighted by about £1.6 million in costs from dog attacks on livestock with the total for 2017 peaking at record level.

 

Shocking new figures revealed seven per cent of dog owners admitted to letting their pets chase farm animals in rural areas and a further 60 per cent said they allowed their pets to roam off the lead when around livestock.

 

Experts at NFU Mutual said this type of behaviour had contributed to a 67 per cent jump in claims over the last two years.

 

In the same period, costs more than quadrupled in Scotland and almost doubled in the Midlands.

 

Rural affairs specialist Tim Price said attacks by dogs were livestock farmers’ ‘worst nightmares’.


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“Insurance can cover the cost of replacing stock killed and the treatment of injured animals, but there is a knock-on effect on farm profits when pregnant sheep chased by dogs lose lambs.”

 

Out of control

According to Mr Price, large husky breeds were involved in a number of recent incidents although he said many attacks were also caused by dogs which had been let out in owners’ gardens and escaped to worry sheep in neighbouring fields.

 

NFU Mutual launched the campaign this morning (February 12) to coincide with the school holidays for half term as many families are expected to hit the countryside.

 

Advice from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare previously said raising the maximum penalty from £1,000 with the option to increase it for persistent or repeat offenders could act as more of a deterrent.

Send a self-addressed stamped a4 envelope for some free FG Take the Lead signs (more info below).
Send a self-addressed stamped a4 envelope for some free FG Take the Lead signs (more info below).

Farmers Guardian has played a vital part in targeting the blight of loose dogs on the industry and continues to champion the notion of ‘pester power’ with its Take the Lead campaign as part of FACE’s Countryside Classroom initiative across more than 750 schools in the UK.

 

As lambing season gets underway farmers are urged to regularly check their stock and ask local walkers to report any sightings of out of control dogs to a local farmer or the police.

 

To get involved with the campaign on social media, use #sheepworrying, #FGTakeTheLead and #ruralcrime.

Getting our Take the Lead signs

Getting our Take the Lead signs

We have 1,000s of livestock worrying signs which you can nail to gateposts or fenceposts near footpaths to highlight the problem to walkers.

 

ORDER THEM HERE...

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