Wednesday, May 12

Livestock worrying hits worrying levels

- February 14, 2017

The cost of dog attacks on livestock reported to leading rural insurer NFU Mutual ( a mutual insurance company with close ties to the National Farmers Union) rose by nearly 50 per cent across the UK in 2016.

In the south east of England, the cost of livestock worrying rose by £9827 between 2015 and 2016, an increase of 66.59%.

This news comes after Sussex Police committed to putting up posters at popular dog walking sites warning about the problems of sheep worrying, which often increase during the spring months.

Farmers have the right to shoot dogs if they are chasing sheep or cattle, and such an incident happened near Chichester last month, with a beloved family pet killed as police watched after it got out of control.

Tim Price, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “It’s not just big, aggressive-looking dogs that attack livestock – well-behaved family pets can worry sheep or cattle. And once a dog has attacked livestock, there is a high probability that it will strike again.

“Dog owners need to be especially careful at this time of year when they’re out for their usual walk, as there may be a flock of sheep on their route, which wasn’t there yesterday.

Steve Conisbee, a farmer near Leatherhead, said:” “I think many people don’t realise that any dog, even if it behaves perfectly at home, can attack sheep if it’s let loose.

“I’ve caught many different kinds of dogs, including a labrador, a terrier and a husky, worrying my sheep.

“I’ve seen dogs run off so quickly when they’ve been let off the lead that the owner couldn’t see what happened next and certainly wasn’t in control of the dog.”

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