Dog owners need to take responsibility to prevent livestock worrying in the countryside

There are few greater pleasures in life than wandering around the idyllic countryside with its beautiful views and clean air. And for many dog owners the walks will only be made that much more enjoyable by the company of their furry friends.

However, what is too often overlooked is that while for many the countryside is a retreat from the stresses of modern life, for farmers it is a live, working site. Farmers and the environment they work in needs to afford the proper level of reverence.

With farmers already facing huge pressures owing to rising costs, it is concerning that farm animals worth £2.4m were severely injured or killed in attacks by dogs last year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Complacency and naivety are to be blamed for these attacks on livestock with more people letting their dogs off leads in the countryside last year than in 2022.

A sign warning dog owners to keep their pets on leads. PIC: AdobeA sign warning dog owners to keep their pets on leads. PIC: Adobe
A sign warning dog owners to keep their pets on leads. PIC: Adobe

And more than half did not feel they needed to take active measures to prevent their dog from chasing animals.

Dog walkers and indeed all people passing through the countryside must behave responsibly. Surely, if a person was passing a building site they would take care not to get in the way of workers. The same approach needs to be taken in the countryside.

Lambing season has started. Therefore it is important now more than ever for dog owners to behave responsibly when out in the countryside.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There’s also a wider question over the behaviour of pet owners. The boom in pet ownership could have consequences beyond the countryside for years to come.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill would be a welcome step in protecting farm animals. But the quickest and easiest solution lies with dog owners being better educated when it comes to accessing the countryside.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.