During walks in the countryside, it is not uncommon to come across grazing livestock including sheep and if a dog is being walked off-lead an encounter can result in a chase and in the worst cases physical attacks taking place.
It is every dog’s instinct to chase, even if they are usually obedient. Chasing of sheep by dogs can do serious damage through stress and injury. Many sheep fleeing from dogs are often killed or seriously injured by their panicked attempts to escape.
Increasing numbers of holidaymakers choosing to stay in the UK alongside their dogs has, in recent years, resulted in increased attacks on livestock.
National Sheep Associtation chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It’s crucially important that dog owners must be aware of the serious issue of sheep worrying by dogs and take action to be a responsible owner whilst enjoying their holidays this summer.
“Please keep your dog on a lead whenever there is a chance sheep could be nearby and avoid walking closely to them if at all possible. You may not consider your dog capable of causing physical injury to another animal but barking and chasing are instinctive responses that will cause great stress to sheep and unfortunately in many cases this also leads to physical attacks causing pain and suffering and in the worst incidents even death.”
Further information for dog walkers can be found at www.sheepworrying.org.uk.