Pandemic puppies spark 10% rise in farm animal attacks

Pandemic puppies spark 10% rise in farm animal attacks as more people are walking dogs during lockdowns

  • A new survey has found dog attacks destroyed £1.3million in livestock last year
  • The NFU Mutual-commissioned survey, found North East was worst-affected
  • 40 per cent of dog owners accepted their pet could cause injury to a farm animal

Soaring numbers of dog walkers in lockdown have caused a 10 per cent increase in attacks on farm animals.

Dog attacks destroyed livestock worth an estimated £1.3million last year, according to a survey.

Long periods of lockdown and a huge increase in the numbers working from home has led to a boom in dog ownership. 

Soaring numbers of dog walkers in lockdown have caused a 10 per cent increase in attacks on farm animals (stock image)

About two in three dog owners admitted letting pets roam free in the countryside and half said they didn’t always come back when called.

The survey, commissioned by the insurer NFU Mutual, found 40 per cent of dog owners accepted their pet could cause injury or death to a farm animal – while only one in three said they would report an attack to police or a farmer.

Last year, the worst-affected region by cost was the North East, where around £240,000 worth of farm stock was savaged by dogs. 

The next most affected areas were the Midlands, South West and Wales.

The survey, commissioned by the insurer NFU Mutual, found 40 per cent of dog owners accepted their pet could cause injury or death to a farm animal – while only one in three said they would report an attack to police or a farmer (stock image)

Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: ‘The attacks cause unbearable suffering to farm animals as well as huge anxiety for farmers and their families as they deal with the aftermath.’

She added: ‘It’s a critical time in the farming calendar and there is widespread concern as we enter 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.

‘It’s vital that dog owners act responsibly and keep dogs on a lead whenever there is a possibility livestock are nearby.’

She said the high number of attacks in 2020 had reversed a downward trend in the cost of dog attacks.

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