Author Topic: Fresh drive to curb dog attacks.  (Read 443 times)

barewirewalker

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Fresh drive to curb dog attacks.
« on: 12:26:58, 18/03/19 »
                                                                                                Fresh drive to curb dog attacks.
Headline from March edition of The Farmer's front page. Nothing very startling as a topic with spring approaching n the agricultural press, but there is some interesting new slants to the understanding of the editorial.
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Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has mounted a now campaign urging dog owners to keep their pets under control as horrific attacks on sheep and other livestock continue to take their toll on farmers.
It would seem that the article is based on a press release from the NFU mutual, this is an insurance company that is closely related to the NFU, the professional body and lobby group that represent farmer's' interests. Some may be aware that I have tried in the past to get walkers to recognise the difference between 'the Farmer' and 'the Landowner', even if the two are in the same body, their interests are different. This represented by the two lobby groups the NFU and the CLA.
Ever since my time on a Local Access Forum I have tried to stress that dog worrying is a case of civil disorder and should not be automatically linked to access.
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Although new research shows more dog owners are putting their pets on leads when livestock are nearby, the insurer is increasingly concerned by reports that many attacks are being caused by dogs which have been let out in gardens,escaping and attacking sheep in neibouring fields.
In my own case the horrific case of sheep worrying I experienced, as a farm manager, when 3 Alsations had unrestricted hours attacking my flock of 146 Pedigree Suffolk ewes, they came from a neighbouring farm, where the dogs were allowed to run the farmyard freely, without any secure boundaries.
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The research by NFU Mutual reveals one in six owners admitted their dog had escaped from
home. More and more people (52 per cent) are allowing their pets to go out into the garden
 unaccompanied when they're not at home - up up from 43 per cent last year.
Since my days in farming, when we had farm workers and tied cottages, the population of the countryside has changed significantly and it is this aspect of dog worrying that has made me suspect that the walkers has been unfairly targeted as the villain of the piece. Many of those rural dwellings have been capitalized by the landowners, either by selling off or developing and renting. The new occupiers are really a extended suburbia, few actually working on the land and often away from their properties.
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According to claims figures from NFU Mutual, which insures three quarters of farmers,
farm animals worth more than £900,000 have been savaged by dogs in the Midlands over the
past four years. The figure for Wales for the past four years has been given as £706,601 while in
the north west of England, farm animals worth £504,118 have been attacked by dogs over the same time period.Known as livestock worrying, dog attacks on farm animals can result in horrific and often fatal injuries. Even if a dog doesn’t make contact, the distressof the chasecan cause sheep to die and miscarry lambs.
The peak time for attacks is from January to April during the lambing season.
According to research carried out this year, 87 % of dog owners exercise theeir pets in the countryside. with over 60% letting them roam of the lead - down from 64% in 2018.
If there is a sign warning dog owners there are livestock in the field, more people (95%) are putting their dogs on a lead than in 2018.
However, the number of dog owners who said their pet had chased livestock in the past was six per cent.
Most dog owners (61 per cent) would try to stop a dog chasing a sheep in the countryside and supported measures to crack down on the problem of livestock worrying.
I would infer from the above that the responsibility shown by the owners of dogs that have been recorded by the improvement in the above statistics is due to the number of genuine walkers, who are also dog owners and not necessarily a reflection of an improvement in the quality of general dog management.
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Rebecca Davidson, rural insurance specialist at Midlands-based NFU Mutual, said: “While it is encouraging news that more people are putting their dog on the lead while out in the countryside, dog attacks are still at a very high level.“We are receiving increasing reports of local dogs escaping from homes and attacking sheep, either because their owners do not know or do not care that their dogs are roaming wild and causing havoc.
“Thousands of sheep are being killed and horribly mutilated by dogs and we will be redoubling our efforts to raise awareness of the issue and helping police to bring owners of dogs which attack livestock to justice.“As the insurer of nearly three quarters of the UK’s farmers, we are sadly all too aware of the heartbreak and distress that dog attacks cause.”
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Is there is another factor in this equation, as the rural housing stock has been filled with people, who own dogs, but are absent from commuting, the countryside has been depleted of those workers, who were once the sentinels to observe and take action in the event of many forms of danger to livestock?
 Is it not ironical that the visitor is not seen as an ally to help in the security of the countryside?


« Last Edit: 17:23:06, 18/03/19 by barewirewalker »
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.