Farmers Guardian sheep worrying survey results
04 Apr 2014
by Olivia Midgley
A Farmers Guardian and NSA survey of dog walkers was posted on social media, dog, countryside, walking and farming websites and gained 1,379 responses.
Do you let your dog off the lead in the countryside?
Always: 382 (28 per cent)
Sometimes: 784 (57 per cent)
Never: 213 (15 per cent)
Do you think your dog would chase livestock?
Yes: 577 (42 per cent)
No: 802 (58 per cent)
Has your dog ever chased livestock?
Yes: 221 (16 per cent)
No: 1,158 (84 per cent)
Would you say you are in control of your dog when it is off the lead?
Yes: 1,131 (82 per cent)
No: 248 (18 per cent)
Are you aware of the damage dogs can do to livestock and the loss of income to the farmer?
Yes: 1,333 (97 per cent)
No: 46 (3 per cent)
NSA member survey
580 farmers responded about dog attacks on their flocks:
- 60 per cent of attacks occurred on private fields without a footpath
- 35 per cent of attacks led to the death of at least one sheep and 96 per cent of attacks led to at least one sheep being stressed/injured
- 63 per cent of attacks resulted in invisible injuries (47 per cent stress and 15 per cent known abortion); 40 per cent of attacks resulted in dog bites requiring a vet
For the second year running, the survey showed huge variability in the response of the police. The NSA asked farmers who reported an attack to the police or local dog warden to rank the quality of the response from 0 (unhelpful) to 10 (very helpful) and received a full range of responses from 0-10. However, the average was 4/10 for police and 3/10 for the dog warden. 27 per cent of farmers who experienced an attack on their stock did not report it to the police.