Owners warned to keep dogs under control
Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets under control in the countryside as the cost of insurance claims from livestock worrying has reached a record level.
New figures show the cost of dog attacks on livestock reported to leading rural insurer NFU Mutual rose by nearly 50% cent across the UK in 2016.
Between January and April, when pregnant ewes and lambs are often grazing on low-lying pasture in areas more accessible to walkers, the cost of claims more than doubled.
With many families expected to visit the countryside during the Easter holidays, NFU Mutual is urging people to keep their dogs on a lead at all times. Farmers have the right to shoot dogs if they are chasing sheep or cattle.
Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “It’s not just big, aggressive-looking dogs that attack livestock – well- behaved family pets can worry sheep or cattle. And once a dog has attacked livestock, there is a high probability that it will strike again.
“Dog owners need to be especially careful at this time of year when they’re out for their usual walk, as there may be a flock of sheep on their route, which wasn’t there yesterday.
“We are sadly all too aware of the heartbreak and huge financial loss that dog attacks cause. ”