The Kennel Club and National Farmers' Union (NFU) have joined
forces to make countryside dog walks safer and more stress free for
both pet dogs and farm animals, by creating new footpath signs
which encourage responsible dog ownership, particularly when around
The signs have been launched at the world's biggest dog event,
Crufts, and they mark a new partnership between the Kennel Club and
NFU that aims to help dog owners to enjoy the UK's landscapes while
avoiding causing unintentional injury or distress to farm animals
such as sheep and cattle.
The signs reinforce the year-round need to keep dogs on leads
around livestock and emphasise that it is safer to release a dog if
threatened by inquisitive cattle, so that walkers and dogs can get
to safety separately.
In light of recent research carried out by the University of
Central Lancashire, which found that many otherwise responsible dog
owners do not realise the need to pick up dog waste in the
countryside or that they can put bagged dog waste in any public
waste bin, the signs also help walkers understand that leaving dog
waste where animals graze can cause cattle to abort their calves
and lead to brain damage or death in sheep.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, 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 mdogs and we are looking forward to the
new signage being well used."
NFU livestock board chairman, Charles Sercombe, a sheep farmer
from Leicestershire, said: "The NFU is delighted to partner
with the Kennel Club for the first time to encourage responsible
dog walking in the countryside. These signs are designed to provide
guidance and inform the public of the risks and dangers of walking
their pets across farmland.
"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
"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 let your dog go to allow it to run to safety."
More information on all of the Kennel Club's activity can be found
at www.thekennelclub.org.uk and information on the
National Farmers' Union is available at www.nfuonline.com.