Dog walkers warned of devastating effects of attacks on livestock ahead of public holiday weekend
As part of an awareness campaign with North Yorkshire Police, farmer Stuart Raw spoke of the stress he is under on seeing dogs running around farmland, while officers have warned owners may be prosecuted if their pet injured livestock.
Mr Raw said, “I have had sheep that were torn to pieces and left alive, and they have gaping wounds all over their body from dogs. I panic every weekend, go to the farm, and find people with dogs tearing up sheep.
His warning comes as more people walk dogs in rural areas as lockdown restrictions lift and a sunny public holiday weekend looms on the horizon.
North Yorkshire Police have provided stocks of warning posters for farmers to place on gates and near livestock fields.
Officers from the force’s neighborhood police teams and its rural task force also spoke with dog walkers in areas where livestock were concerned, to make sure everyone understood the importance keep dogs on a leash and under control.
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Dog walkers also receive photographs of the terrible injuries a dog can inflict on a sheep, if any.
PCSO Andy Birkinshaw of the North Yorkshire Police Rural Task Force said: ‘Farmers, veterinarians and fellow police officers know all too well the horrific injuries sheep can suffer as a result of attacks of dogs. It’s a horrible thing to see, but it can be avoided simply by dog owners who take responsibility for their pets.
PC Mark Atkinson, who also works for the Rural Task Force, added: “Any dog, regardless of behavior, can get out of hand when not on a leash around livestock. It just isn’t worth the risk. The owner of the dog can find himself sued for criminal damages and, tragically, the dog itself can die due to the negligence of its owner.
“Cattle concerns don’t just include sheep and limb bites – when a dog chases a sheep in a field, the sheep can abort their lambs, or they can die from crushing or stress.
“The answer to all of this is simple: keep your dog on a leash and under control, anywhere near livestock.”