Stay Away from Cattle or Your Life's at Risk, Dogwalkers Told

Article excerpt

Dog owners are being warned not to walk their pets on land where cattle are grazing. The warnings follow an inquest last month into the death of a Pembrokeshire woman. Wendy Tustin, 55, from St Florence, near Tenby, was found dead in a field of around 40 suckler cows with calves last September.

She had suffered horrendous injuries, consistent with trampling, crushing and butting by cattle.

Mrs Tustin was last seen walking her dog nearby, and had told a neighbour she was going to take a short cut through farmland to get home. Coroner Michael Howells said the presence of suckler cattle and a dog had been extremely dangerous. 'The fact is that cattle are unpredictable creatures, especially in circumstances where they are suckling,' he said.

Roger Vincent, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said incidents where cattle attack people with dogs happen once or twice a year.

'People who've got dogs and see a field full of cattle could well be better avoiding the field altogether,' he said.

And rather than keeping the dog on a lead, allowing it free in a field of aggressive cattle was not as reckless or even selfish as it may seem.

'The cattle will follow the dog, but it will be able to get away and be fine. This message does need to get home.'

A total of 27 people in the UK were killed or seriously injured by cattle while using footpaths between 1991 and 2001. Dogs featured on 20 occasions, and cattle with calves were involved in every case.

Farmer Watcyn Richards has staged a one-man campaign on the issue for months and wants a complete ban on walkers taking their dogs on to farmland. …