Plea To Keep Dogs Under Control In North Yorkshire Countryside
12:45pm 10th March 2014
The call comes in the midst of the lambing season, when pregnant ewes can abort if they become stressed by loose dogs. Birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife are also at risk, with their young vulnerable if parents are scared away.
CLA North Director of Policy & Public Affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “The majority of farmers and landowners are happy to welcome walkers who adhere to the Countryside Code. Most people are very understanding and walk with their dogs on leads near livestock – but there are some who do not even consider doing this.
“Dogs should always be under close control when walked on farmland, and unless the dog stays closely to heel, this normally means that it should be on a lead. A lead should always be used when close to livestock.
Mr Chalmers is also reminding dog owners to clean up their pets' mess because of a deadly parasite which can be picked up from grass infected by dog faeces.
He said: "There may be no obvious symptoms in a dog, but the effects of the parasite Neospora caninum can be devastating in cattle and there is no known treatment.
"Even if there aren't any animals visibly grazing in a field, they may do in coming weeks, or the grass may be cut and used as feed through the winter."
Neospora caninum affects mainly cattle, dogs and other animals such as foxes, although it can also affect sheep, goats, deer and horses. The parasite lives in both dogs and cattle, but only reproduces in dogs. It can be transmitted to cattle which graze on grass infected by dog faeces. Once inside a cow the parasite is deadly, often resulting in abortion or the birth of premature, impaired or infected calves.
The CLA is campaigning for the Government to provide clear guidance to dog owners setting out their responsibilities and enable better understanding of the impact their animals can have on livestock and farming practices. The Association also wants the myriad of rules relating to dogs on different types of access land to be simplified.
Data obtained by Farmers Guardian and the National Sheep Association under Freedom of Information requests to UK Police forces says there were 739 dog attacks on livestock in 2012, up from 691 in 2011. There were 537 incidents of sheep being attacked and injured in 2012 compared to 301 in 2011.
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