Keep your dog on a lead around livestock – that is the message from the National Sheep Association (NSA) and the RSPCA, as lambing season approaches.

dog and sheep
Keep your dog on a lead around livestock, owners urged. Image © Martina Berg / Fotolia.

With reports of dog attacks on sheep increasing, the organisations want to reiterate to dog owners there is a simple way to stop the attacks – by keeping their dogs on leads around livestock.

Horrendous attacks

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “A growing number of our members tell us about horrendous attacks they have suffered to their livestock. It is not only the harrowing injuries that out of control dogs have inflicted, but also the losses they have suffered as a result of dogs simply chasing livestock.

“The risk of heavily pregnant ewes aborting is extremely high after suffering the stress of been chased by dogs, not to mention the risk of young lambs becoming separated from their mother at a critical early bonding stage.

“Lambs will die from starvation or hypothermia when they become separated from their mother and fail to find her again.”

‘Don’t be complacent’

The NSA has been collecting evidence of sheep worrying incidents for several years, with case after case highlighting the damage a pet can inflict when it is left unsupervised.

RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley said: “No dog owner sets out on a walk to hurt sheep, but sadly that can happen if the dog is allowed to run loose around livestock.

“Many dogs, if given the opportunity, will chase or show interest in livestock, even if your pet is normally calm, gentle, obedient and docile. Don’t be complacent, they can be still be a danger.”

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