Dog Trainers,  Dog Walkers,  Industry News,  Lead

Cost of livestock worrying rises by nearly 30%

Farm animals worth an estimated £2.4m were severely injured or killed by dogs in 2023, up nearly 30% compared to the previous year, new figures reveal.

Insurer NFU Mutual’s latest survey of more than 1,100 dog owners shows more people were letting their dogs off leads in the countryside last year than in 2022, 68% and 64%, respectively. 

The survey also reveals that 49% said their pet always comes back when called. 

Almost 8% admitted their dog chases livestock, but 46% believed their dog was not capable of causing the death or injury of farm animals. More than half (54%) felt they did not need to take active measures to prevent their dog from chasing. 

If present at an attack, 57% of dog owners would intervene to stop it, 22% would report it to a local farmer, and 11% would call the police. 

In England, the South West was the worst-hit region by cost, with dog attacks on livestock costing an estimated £359,000, followed by the Midlands (£331,000). 

It comes as the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment) Bill is making its way through parliament. NFU Mutual welcomes this Bill, which improves powers available to police for dealing with dog attacks on livestock. 

Hannah Binns, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist, said: “We’ve heard reports from farmers about dog owners who regularly allow their pets to roam off-lead in the countryside, seemingly unaware of the carnage the dog could cause, who are then horrified when an attack happens. 

“Complacency kills, though, and there have been incidences where dogs have chased, injured and killed sheep and the owner is powerless to stop it or nowhere to be seen.” 

She added: “We’re urging all dog owners to be responsible for their pet and keep them on a lead when walked anywhere near livestock. If there is an attack, it is important people accept responsibility and report it, to a local farmer and the police, so that the injured animals are not left suffering in pain.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *