Sheep farmers invited to take part in dog assaults survey


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Sheep Worrying by Chris Cotterman is licensed underneath CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sheep farmers are being invited to participate in a survey to evaluate the intense and devastating situation of sheep worrying by dogs.

The survey, launched aby the Nationwide Sheep Affiliation (NSA), comes as many ewes are within the last phases of being pregnant or have younger weak lambs at foot resulting in elevated threat of miscarriage or mis-mothering because of stress from a sheep worrying assault.

It’s an offence to permit a dog to fret sheep, which incorporates attacking or chasing sheep, and incidents by dogs trigger important welfare issues for sheep and severe upset to sheep farmers whose flocks are affected.

Analysis carried out by the Countryside Alliance final yr discovered that almost 1 / 4 of rural crimes weren’t reported to the Police.

In January 2021, 50 ewes in North Monmouthshire died following a livestock worrying incident and in October, police within the Talgarth space had been referred to as to an incident the place a ewe had been discovered with “extreme” accidents.

Janet Finch-Saunders, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, has repeatedly referred to as for the founding a Nationwide Rural Crime Taskforce for Wales in response to severe dog assaults on livestock.

Current adjustments in laws have been proposed to attempt to deal with the difficulty however NSA believes these don’t go far sufficient and fail to supply adequate deterrents to forestall assaults occurring.

File-breaking response

The NSA is inviting all sheep farmers, whether or not they have skilled points with sheep worrying or not, to contribute to the survey which launched on Friday and is open till 25 March.

Final yr’s survey noticed a record-breaking response, with a rise of 460% on the 2020 survey. Evaluation confirmed that on common, every respondent skilled seven circumstances of sheep worrying through the previous yr leading to 5 sheep injured and two sheep killed per assault.

67% of respondents witnessed a rise in assaults through the Covid-19 pandemic which they consider will be attributed to a rise in dog possession and most of the people spending extra time strolling within the countryside.

Moreover, greater than half of all respondents had skilled abuse or intimidation when personally asking dog house owners to place their pet on a lead.

Unpredictable behaviour

The NSA says there’s an pressing want for dog house owners to be educated to grasp that even probably the most well-trained dog has an intuition to chase and might behave unpredictably round livestock.

Providing steering to dog house owners, the web site says: “Sheep fleeing from dogs are sometimes killed or severely injured by their panicked makes an attempt to flee, inflicting untold injury to fences and discipline boundaries within the course of.

“Canine chasing ewes and lambs could cause mis-mothering points, with lambs dying from hunger or hypothermia once they turn out to be separated from their mom and fail to seek out her once more.”

NSA Coverage and Technical Officer, Sean Riches mentioned: “NSA receives calls from distressed sheep farmers who’ve skilled assaults on their flocks on a really common foundation.

“As a nation of animal lovers, it’s troublesome to grasp how these devastating assaults are allowed to proceed. It is a severe welfare situation, the place sheep are often subjected to threats by dogs who chase and trigger bodily hurt.”

For extra data on the difficulty of sheep worrying by dogs and NSA’s work on this situation please go to

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