NFU Cymru’s Livestock Board Chairman has renewed the union’s call for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead around livestock, after sheep were killed and injured in a dog attack on his farm.
Wyn Evans, who farms near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, has lost seven ewes and a further five sheep have been injured after the incident involving two lurcher-type dogs on New Year’s Eve.
The incident is currently being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police’s Ceredigion Rural Crime Team.
NFU Cymru is urging dog owners to enjoy the countryside responsibly and to keep their pets on a lead to avoid sheep worrying or attacks on livestock.
NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman Wyn Evans said: “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.
“I can appreciate that many people take great joy in walking their dog in Wales’ beautiful countryside. I also recognise that exercise is particularly important for people’s physical and mental health during this time of lockdown. However, I plead with dog owners to please keep their dog on a lead around livestock to avoid distressing incidents like the one that has occurred on our farm in recent days.
“Sheep farming is more than a livelihood for our family. We have responsibility for the welfare of every animal we have on the farm. To see our pregnant ewes maimed and killed in this manner has been a very upsetting experience for us. It is something no farmer should have to go through. Please act responsibly and keep your dog on a lead when livestock are nearby.”
Mr Evans added: “It is crucial that farmers report incidents of this nature to give our police forces a true picture of the scale of the problem.
“It is similarly important that our rural police teams have the resources to respond to crimes of this nature swiftly and effectively. I am keen to virtually meet with Dyfed-Powys Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, to discuss how the force can better work with the farming industry to ensure those whose irresponsible actions lead to distress, injury and deaths of livestock are correctly identified and that appropriate action is taken against them.”
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.