Farming News - NSA issues reminder to keep dogs on leads this Autumn

NSA issues reminder to keep dogs on leads this Autumn

18 Oct 2021
Livestock

With the Autumn school half term holidays fast approaching in many areas of the UK the National Sheep Association (NSA) is reminding those seeking a half term staycation of the risk to sheep flocks from pet dogs allowed to run free in the countryside.
 
Sheep farmers up and down the country often report an increase in dog attacks on their sheep during popular holiday periods. With more families still choosing to stay in the UK for an autumn break this year, there are concerns that a spike in devastating attacks could once again be experienced.

Sheep WorryingSheep worrying by dogs is a serious issue for sheep farmers often resulting in injuries and even death of affected sheep. During the autumn months, stress on ewes can also inhibit them from becoming pregnant at this important sheep breeding time.
 
However, the effort needed to prevent such attacks from happening is a very easy one – dog owners must simply keep their pets on leads whenever sheep could be nearby. NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “You may not consider your dog capable of chasing and attacking sheep but it is an instinctive response and the stress and injury it can lead to can be absolutely shocking.
 
“Look out for signs indicating where livestock may be present but if you are in any way unsure whether sheep could be near or not then keep your dog on a lead and under control. Not only are you putting sheep at risk by failing to do this but also potentially the welfare of your own animal.”
 
As well as highlighting the issue to dog owners NSA is also encouraging farmers to ensure their signage around farm requesting dogs be kept on leads is easy to view and clear to understand. To help with this NSA has a range of graphics for farmers and others to display that are available to download at www.sheepworrying.org.uk
 
To increase the type of signs available to sheep farmers NSA has also invited children this October to take part in a new competition to design warning signs that farmers could display on-farm requesting dog owners keep their dogs on leads. The competition closes on Wednesday 20th October. For information on how to enter visit go.nationalsheep.org.uk/designasign