Farmers are warning that attacks on livestock by dogs are reaching “epidemic proportions” as they brace themselves for a surge in dog attacks heading into peak lambing season.
An increase in dog ownership during the pandemic, especially among inexperienced dog owners, saw the cost of dog attacks on livestock rise 10% last year to £1.3m, according to research published by NFU Mutual.
Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist at the insurer, said: “It’s a critical time in the farming calendar and there is widespread concern as we enter the peak lambing season that there will be a surge in new visitors who are simply unaware of the Countryside Code or how their dog will behave around farm animals.”
The start of lambing season has been fraught for farmer Gordon Wyeth due to attacks on his sheep by pet dogs. He estimates that the number of attacks has doubled since the start of lockdown. “We had a ram that was bitten through the throat and died, we had six lambs [killed], I think that was the next day. And then we had a husky chasing in-lamb ewes, the day after that. One…