Free-roaming dogs cause £1.5m loss to farming industry

‘Carnage in the countryside’ is what the Easter holidays could bring to local farmers according to recent figures released by NFU Mutual.

The latest statistics confirm that in 2021 farmers lost livestock worth an estimated £1.52million, after the animals were injured or killed by runaway dogs.

And those most at risk this Easter are newborn lambs and pregnant ewes that are out in the open countryside across the county.

Meanwhile, rural insurer NFU Mutual fears ‘pandemic puppies’ could cause even greater carnage this year if more dogs are allowed off their leads. Research shows that 73% of dog owners now allow their pets to wander off-leash, and 49% admit that their dogs don’t always come back when called.

“With Easter falling so late this year, most lambs have already been born, making them very vulnerable to dog attack,” said NFU rural affairs specialist Rebecca Davidson.

“And with many people planning an Easter trip with dogs not normally used to being around sheep or roaming freely in the countryside, we fear there will be an upsurge in attacks.”

Ms Davidson went on to say that it’s not just big dogs that pose a threat to livestock. Small dogs are equally threatening as they can cause death by chasing sheep in fields until the animal dies of stress. Similarly, newborn lambs may be separated from their mother,

“We’re just asking owners to keep their pets on a leash whenever livestock might be around,” she added.

If anyone sees dogs on the loose behaving aggressively, they are asked to report the incident to the police or local farmers near where the livestock are kept.

About Keneth T. Graves

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