In­surer warns over Easter dog at­tacks on live­stock

Argyllshire Advertiser - - FARMING -

AT THE end of a month which saw two sep­a­rate at­tacks on sheep near In­ver­aray, ru­ral in­surer NFU Mu­tual is call­ing for own­ers to keep their pets un­der con­trol over Easter.

The av­er­age cost of claims for farm an­i­mals killed or in­jured by dogs dealt with by NFU Mu­tual now more than dou­bles dur­ing the first three months of the year. Scot­land was one of the worst af­fected parts of the UK with an es­ti­mated cost to farm­ing of £330,000 in 2017.

New re­search by the in­surer has re­vealed that more than 80 per cent of dog own­ers ex­er­cise their pets in the coun­try­side, with more than 60 per cent let­ting them roam off the lead.

Shock­ingly, al­most seven per cent of own­ers ad­mit­ted that their pets had chased farm an­i­mals in the past and one in 10 own­ers don’t put their pets on a lead if they see a sign warn­ing that live­stock are in a nearby field.

While the ma­jor­ity of own­ers let their dogs off the lead, less than half (42 per cent) said their pet al­ways came back when called – and only five per cent ad­mit­ted their dogs are so dis­obe­di­ent they never come back when called. The in­surer is also in­creas­ingly con­cerned by re­ports that many at­tacks are be­ing caused by dogs which have been let out in gar­dens and es­cape to at­tack sheep in neigh­bour­ing fields. ‘These at­tacks cause tremen­dous suf­fer­ing to live­stock and are hugely dis­tress­ing for farm­ers and their fam­i­lies who have to deal with the af­ter­math of an at­tack,’ said Tim Price, Ru­ral Af­fairs Spe­cial­ist at NFU Mu­tual.

‘Much of this heart­break could be pre­vented if own­ers kept their dogs un­der con­trol – ei­ther on a lead or se­cure in gar­dens – when­ever farm an­i­mals could be nearby.’

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