Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dog Owners Warned over Attacks on Stock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dog Owners Warned over Attacks on Stock

Article excerpt

Byline: LIVESTOCK Aranda Rahbarkouhi? 0191 201 6136 ?

CONCERNS are growing over a rising number of dog attacks on livestock in the countryside. The NFU has sent out a warning to animal owners to be more responsible when visiting rural communities.

The message comes after the latest figures of sheep and cattle being worried by dogs on farms nationally last year, costing farmers an estimated PS1m.

In recent years, a number of people have also been killed or seriously injured in incidents as a result of stampeding cattle attempting to protect their young stock.

The NFU is launching its Love Your Countryside campaign in order to highlight how visitors can enjoy the countryside responsibly, as well as keeping themselves safe, while walking through fields grazed by livestock.

An estimated 3.6 billion tourists visit the British countryside every year, with ramblers and walkers making up 18% of all visitors.

However, the public is being urged to take on board a series of measures in order to stay safe, while at the same time, helping farmers to protect livestock from being attacked by dogs.

The vast majority of visitors to the countryside are responsible and do not wish to see livestock endangered according to Willie Curry, who farms at Howick Scar on the Northumberland coastline, near Craster.

"The Craster and Dunstanburgh area attracts a lot of tourists throughout the year and most people act in a responsible manner. Hundreds of visitors walk their dogs most weekends and local farmers appreciate the courtesy of dogs being kept on a lead," he said.

"There will always be the odd incident but generally, responsible dog owners know the guidelines and are keen to minimise any potential risk to farm livestock or themselves as well as, their pets. It is not in their interest to put the family pet in harm's way or cause any distress to their dog or harm grazing livestock," he said.

Tourism is Northumberland's second largest industry and the county attracts thousands of visitors each year to the region. With the summer holidays fast approaching, Mr Curry suggested visitors should follow the countryside guidelines in order to protect themselves, other family members, their pets and farm livestock. …

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