Many of us will be out walking with our dogs this month as we appreciate the autumn colour.
So the NFU is reminding us to take extra care and avoid situations where our pets could scare and even harm farm animals, especially sheep.
Sadly, the spate of attacks by dogs on sheep has continued across the south this year. Sheep can die the most terrible deaths in dog attacks. Female sheep (ewes) will be becoming pregnant this autumn and can lose their lambs when chased by dogs.
NFU Adviser Georgia Craig says: “Farmers spend countless hours tending their livestock and helping to care for our grazed countryside.
“Please avoid potential problems and take the lead. Keep your dog under close control and on a lead around cattle and sheep. Don’t be tempted to let your pet run freely in open fields as there may be sheep around the corner - even the best behaved dogs have a chase instinct. Dogs can inflict the most terrible injuries on sheep which often result in death.”
If a dog chases and/or bites livestock, the dog owner or the person responsible for the animal at the time is guilty of an offence and may be sued for compensation by the farmer. Ms Craig adds: “The law allows farmers to shoot dogs that are threatening livestock. Don’t put your pet in danger, keep it on a lead and under control at all times. Dog attacks on sheep should be avoided at all costs.”
Owners should also check that properties are dog proof, to prevent dogs roaming freely.