Police are pleading with dog owners to keep their pets on leads and avoid throwing sticks into standing crops after produce and a combine were damaged.
Officers from the rural crime team at Northamptonshire Police have made the appeal after arable farmers reported damage caused by off-lead dogs being allowed to roam into crops or retrieve sticks thrown by their owners.
In one case, a stick thrown into the crop was later picked up by a combine harvester, causing damage which delayed harvest work.
Permanent damage caused to crops is classed as a crime, as is machinery damage by people throwing or leaving of sticks or other items in the crop.
PC Chloe Gillies said: “Farmers are having a tough enough time as it is following the heatwave, which has really affected crop yields and therefore their income. The last thing they need is to lose more of their harvest because of the actions of a few irresponsible dog walkers.
“This is affecting people’s livelihoods, so if you are using a right of way through arable farmland, please keep your dog on a lead or under close control, make sure he stays on the right of way and out of crops, and avoid throwing anything into crops.”
Advice for responsibly enjoying the countryside with your dog
- Keep your dog on a lead or under close control at all times
- Your dog should be with you on the path, not straying off to the side or in front – this can be considered an act of trespass
- Don’t throw sticks or other items into crops
- Always clean up after your dog
- Put your dog on the lead when walking near livestock – take special care around cows with calves. If approached, keep facing the animal and move calmly and slowly, don’t turn your back to it or run
- If you feel threatened by cattle when with a dog, let go of the lead so you and the dog can get to safety separately