With the lambing season fast approaching, the Kennel Club has launched its #WHEREISYOURDOG campaign following evidence from North Wales Police which shows that approximately 90 per cent of livestock worrying incidents in the region are caused by unaccompanied dogs.
Across the UK more widely, seven in 10 livestock attacks are caused by unaccompanied dogs.
With North Wales regarded as one of the biggest ‘problem areas’ for livestock worrying incidents, the Kennel Club is hosting a roundtable event in the Welsh Assembly tomorrow (Wednesday 13th March). The event will aim to raise awareness of the importance of dog owners always knowing where their dog is, and highlighting the risks that escaping dogs pose to livestock.
Whilst 95 per cent of owners put their dogs on a lead when they see a credible sign that livestock is present, a recent report by NFU Mutual indicates that 52 per cent of dog owners are allowing their dogs out unaccompanied in local gardens – and subsequently some then escape, with as many as one in six dog owners admitting their dog had previously escaped.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Advice to dog owners needs to address the most common cause of livestock attacks, which is currently dogs escaping from local homes and free-roaming. It is absolutely vital that dog owners know where their dog is; yet at times the only advice promoted is that dog owners should keep their dogs on leads at all times in the countryside. Such advice is outdated as we know that the vast majority of dog owners do keep their dogs on leads where livestock is present.
“Keeping dogs on leads unnecessarily where it causes no problems will make it hard for dog owners to comply with their duty of care to their pet – as dogs need ‘regular exercise, at least once a day, so they can run, play, explore and investigate’ as is cited by the Welsh Government in its Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs’ 2018.”
Stephen Jenkinson, Kennel Club Access Advisor, added: “For many years we have pushed out the message loud and clear to dog owners to put their dogs on leads around livestock, while releasing their pets if threatened by cattle. We now know that the vast majority do so and yet livestock attacks still occur and cost the Welsh farming industry £285,000 last year according to NFU Mutual. To prevent this, and stop all responsible dog walkers getting a bad name, we want to get the message across that it’s dog owners who let their dogs out unaccompanied that pose the biggest risk – not only to livestock – but also to themselves as their dog may not make it home.”