Even the sweetest natured dog can quickly change its character when running free among a flock of sheep or a herd of cows.

In that setting, a family pet who might ordinarily love nothing more than a tummy tickle and snooze can hark back to behaviour more typical of its wolf ancestors.

All too often dog owners allow their pets to run off the lead near fields of livestock in the Pembrokeshire countryside.

Sheep and cattle fleeing from dogs are often killed or seriously injured by their panicked attempts to escape, damaging fences and field boundaries in the process.

An attack highlights a potential for wildness that dog owners are often keen to deny.

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It’s against the law for a dog to be dangerously out of control anywhere but this appears to be no deterrent, even though farmers can in certain circumstances shoot dead a dog that imperils their livestock.

At this time of the year many of those animals are heavily pregnant. What should be one of the most uplifting times of the agricultural year can turn into one of the most distressing for farmers and their stock.

Why does livestock worrying continue to be such a major problem despite campaigns year after year to educate dog owners on its devastating consequences for both farmers and the animals involved?

The refreshed Countryside Code fails to advise that dogs should be kept on leads in the vicinity of livestock. It simply suggests that a dog should be “in sight” when its behaviour around livestock could be unpredictable.

This will not prevent sheep and cattle from being attacked by dogs.

It is a missed opportunity to inform people that the majority of our countryside, including national parks, is farmed and privately owned, and that with rights to cross farmland via public footpaths comes responsibility.

The worrying of livestock by dogs is akin to theft of the farmer's livelihood – if any animal is not killed it often aborts its unborn lamb or calf.

We are a nation of dog lovers and politicians seem afraid to tackle the danger they pose to people and other animals for fear of losing votes.

It would surely be sensible, necessary even, to limit the number of dogs per person in a public space. It won’t happen of course because no politician is brave enough to put a leash on our love of dogs.