Dog owners are being urged by Macclesfield’s MP, David Rutley, to enjoy the countryside responsibly and keep their pets on a lead when near to livestock to avoid sheep worrying.
The importance of this issue was brought home to Mr Rutley when he attended a regular meeting with the local branch of the National Farmers’ Union recently. At the meeting, local farmers spoke about their own experiences of sheep worrying and highlighted the vital need for dog owners to act responsibly and keep their dogs on a lead when walking through fields containing livestock.
NFU Macclesfield Group Secretary Rebecca Gayne, NFU Macclesfield branch chairman Mike Gorton, David Rutley MP, Jo Burrows and Rob Simms from Marton
The well-attended meeting also focussed on the UK's future agricultural policy following its withdrawal from the EU, as well as local planning matters in Cheshire East and their impact on the farming community. The evening was kindly hosted by Jo Burrows, a livestock farmer in Macclesfield Forest. Following the meeting, David was given a tour of the farm, where he saw its facilities and learned more about its operations during the lambing season.
NFU Macclesfield Group Secretary Rebecca Gayne said: “The NFU is currently looking to increase links with other organisations, such as veterinary surgeries, rehoming charities and pet stores, who can help further push out and promote our message to the wider public that dogs should be kept on a lead when walked near livestock in the countryside. Dog walkers are reminded that even the most docile of pets can cause serious injury and death to livestock if they are not walked responsibly, particularly if that dog is not familiar with livestock.”David Rutley MP added: "We are fortunate to have access to so much wonderful countryside around Macclesfield and it is great that local people can enjoy this with their dogs. It is vital that dog owners are responsible around livestock and follow recommended guidance to help ensure that they can have fun and safe days out in the countryside with their pets, without disrupting the important work of sheep farmers. It was good to meet again with local members of the National Farmers’ Union to learn more about this important issue, which is particularly relevant during the lambing season.”