Dog owners across Lancashire urged to keep their dogs under control during lambing season

Dog owners across the North West have been urged to keep their pets under control as lambing season gets underway.

By Sean Gleaves
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 5:28 pm

Research from insurance company NFU Mutual revealed that almost three-quarters of dog owners (73 per cent) now allow their pets to roam off-lead in the countryside - up from (64 per cent) a year ago.

This is despite around half (49 per cent) saying their dog does not always come back when called.

The leading rural insurer estimates that farm animals worth £88,000 were injured or killed by dogs in the North West last year.

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Dog owners across the North West are being urged to keep their pets under control as lambing season gets under way. (Photo by It's No Game on Flickr)

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Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Behind the figures, these horrific attacks are causing unbearable suffering to farm animals and anxiety for farmers as they deal with the aftermath.

“There’s a new generation of dog owners whose pandemic puppies are coming of age and they don’t know how their dog is going to behave around livestock.

“It’s hard for people to imagine that their affectionate family pet could injure or kill another animal and it’s not only physical attacks that can harm livestock. Even if a small dog chases sheep and they don’t make contact, they

can separate lambs from their mothers or the distress and exhaustion from the chase can cause a pregnant ewe to die or miscarry.

“We want people to enjoy the countryside and recognise the huge benefit it brings to people’s wellbeing. We’re simply asking for people to keep their dogs under control and on a lead.”

With many dog owners planning to visit north west beauty spots during coming weeks as the weather improves, and sheep are at their most vulnerable, NFU Mutual is calling for dog owners to:

Keep dogs on the lead when walking in rural areas where livestock are kept but let go of the lead if chased by cattle; Be aware that even small dogs can cause the distress, injury and death of farm animals; Report attacks by dogs to the police or local farmers; Don’t let dogs loose unsupervised in gardens near livestock fields – many attacks are caused by dogs which escape and attack sheep grazing nearby.

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