‘Carnage in the countryside’ is what the Easter holidays may bring to local farmers following recent figures released by NFU Mutual.

Latest statistics confirm that in 2021, farmers lost livestock worth an estimated £1.52m, after the animals were either injured or killed by out-of-control dogs.

And most at risk this Easter are new-born lambs and pregnant ewes which are found in open countryside throughout the county.

Meanwhile, the rural insurer  NFU Mutual is concerned that the ‘pandemic puppies’ could result in even greater carnage this year if more dogs are allowed off their leads.  Research shows that 73 per cent of dog owners now allow their pets to roam off-lead with 49 per cent admitting that their dogs don’t always come back when called. 

“With Easter falling so late this year, most lambs have already been born which makes them highly vulnerable to dog attacks,” said NFU rural affairs specialist Rebecca Davidson. 

“And with many people planning an Easter trip with dogs that aren’t normally used to being around sheep or roaming loose in the countrysfde, we’re worried that there’s going to be a surge in attacks.”

Ms Davidson went on to say that it’s not just the large dogs who pose a threat to livestock.  Small dogs are just as menacing as they can cause death by chasing sheep around fields until the animal dies from stress.  Similarly, new-born lambs can get separated from their mothers,

“We’re simply asking owners to keep their pets on the lead whenever livestock could be nearby,” she added.

If anyone sees loose dogs behaving aggressively, they are asked to report the incident to the police or the local farmers near to where the livestock are being kept.