Rural in insurers are calling on dog-owners to keep pets under control after estimates that farm animals worth £95,000 were killed or injured by out-of-control dogs on farms in the North East region in 2021.
New-born lambs and pregnant ewes are at peak vulnerability now and NFU Mutual is worried that grown-up ‘pandemic puppies’ could cause even greater carnage this Easter if let off-lead in the countryside.
Research conducted by NFU Mutual shows 73 per cent of dog owners (up from 64 per cent last year) now allow their pets to roam off-lead in the countryside – despite 49 per cent admitting their dog doesn’t always come back when called.
“With many people planning an Easter trip to the countryside with dogs which aren’t used to being around sheep, we’re worried there could be a surge in attacks.
“As the weather improves for the Bank Holiday, we understand people want to make the most of the countryside, however it’s crucial that this is done responsibly. While harmless at home, gentle family pets can quickly turn to their natural instincts out in the fields, leaving a trail of horrific injuries to sheep and new-born lambs.
“Owners need to be aware that it’s not just large dogs that attack sheep - even small dogs can cause deaths by chasing sheep round fields until they die from stress, or separate new-born lambs from their mothers.”