Keep your dog on a lead to help protect livestock

Dog on the lead

When you’re out in the countryside with your dog this spring, make sure you follow the laws and regulations on keeping dogs on leads.

Farmers saw an increase in the number of dog attacks on their livestock last year, according to Blue Cross. One Monmouthshire farmer reported a loss of 50 ewes and their unborn lambs as more people took to the countryside during lockdown.

Dog on a lead with livestock

Dogs who are usually calm and obedient at home or on urban walks can become distracted and behave erratically in environments they’re not used to, the animal charity explained. One reason for this is that a dog’s sense of smell can become stimulated in unfamiliar rural settings, which can lead to heightened predatory instincts kicking in.

New research by Blue Cross reveals that although 42% of dog owners agree dogs should be kept on a lead around livestock, only a quarter (25%) actually do so.

Over a third of dog owners are unaware of the laws around dogs and livestock, but 63% say they would consider having their dogs on a lead in future more often if it lowered the risk of danger to farm animals.

“When we share our lives with dogs, we not only have a responsibility to them but also to the other wonderful species that share our world,” said naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham, education ambassador for Blue Cross.

“All year round, dogs who have not had the right training can pose a potential threat to wildlife and livestock. This is through no fault of their own but simply because of their genetic make-up and what their breeds may literally be designed to do!

“I support Blue Cross to bust myths that time spent on the lead is somehow denying your dog pleasure or enjoyment. We need to keep all our animal friends safe, and that includes the ones in our home and outside.”

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