NFU Cymru is warning dog owners to ensure they know the whereabouts of their pets and keep them on leads at all times around livestock following a vicious attack which left 50 sheep dead.
Following the devastating incident, which is currently being investigated by Gwent Police, NFU Cymru is once again urging dog owners to enjoy the countryside responsibly, to keep their pets on leads, and to ensure they know where they are at all times, to avoid livestock worrying attacks.
NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Chairman, David Edwards said: “This shocking attack on 50 ewes is heart-breaking for the family involved, as well as the local community. Farming families have responsibility for the welfare of every animal on their farms and to see sheep maimed and killed in this manner is extremely upsetting. It is something no farmer should have to go through.
“With lambing season upon us, it is even more important to make sure you are in control of your dogs at all times. There will soon be lambs at foot as well and we simply cannot have a repeat of this dreadful incident, with dangerously out of control dogs being allowed to wreak havoc and destroy livestock in this way.
“It is concerning to hear reports of a large number of ‘lockdown puppies’ now becoming adolescent dogs that have not been trained properly due to the pandemic. While the vast majority of dog owners believe that their dog is docile and would not harm sheep or other animals, dogs can cause distress, injury and death to livestock if they are not walked responsibly, particularly when that dog is not familiar with livestock.”
A spokesperson for Gwent Police Rural Crime Team said: “We urge all farmers across the force area to report all incidents of livestock worrying, regardless of whether there are any injuries, as we are aware there is an amount of under-reporting of this type of incident.
“We also wish to emphasise the importance of making sure that all dogs, whether they are pets or working dogs, are kept secure, whilst unattended. Many livestock worrying incidents are as a result of dogs escaping from gardens, kennels etc, with the owners being completely unaware of anything having occurred. Please call 101 to report any incidents of this nature.”
NFU Cymru has a range of advice to support members in the event of a dog attacking livestock on their farm, as well as resources to help encourage dog walkers to walk their dogs responsibly on farmland, available on its website. You can also order signs to encourage people to keep their dogs on leads and to follow the countryside code.