FARMING MATTERS: Advice for dog owners

A detail from the new footpath sign created by the NFU and the Kennel Club to encourage responsible dog ownership
A detail from the new footpath sign created by the NFU and the Kennel Club to encourage responsible dog ownership

At this time of year when young livestock are in the fields it is even more important to keep dogs on a lead when out walking across farmland.

The NFU has joined forces with the Kennel Club to make countryside dog walks safer for both pet dogs and farm animals by creating new footpath signs which encourage responsible dog ownership.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe, who recently spoke in the House of Lords about livestock worrying, said: “Now spring is here we tend to see an increase in the number of people out walking their dogs. But it’s important to remember that farms are working environments so please be aware of your surroundings.

“The advice is, if you have a dog with you keep it close by your side and under control. Where there are cows and sheep put it on a short lead. Remember cows are inquisitive and may come to investigate. If you feel threatened walk calmly towards the field boundary and release your dog so you can both get to safety separately.”

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “Government figures show that dogs are taken on half of all countryside visits, and in the vast majority of cases these walks are problem free for dog owners and farmers alike. It is important for dog owners to be aware of the need to put their dog on a lead at certain times and to always pick up their dog’s waste on farmland, to make sure that everyone can continue enjoying the countryside safely. We are proud to be working with the NFU on this new partnership, which will help walkers in the countryside make good choices about what they can do with their dogs and we are looking forward to the new signage being well used.”