7 April 2000
Sheep-worrying costs 2m a year

By FWi staff

DOGS worrying sheep are becoming an increasing problem, costing farmers more than 2 million a year, according to latest insurance claim figures.

More than 24,000 sheep were killed or injured by dogs during 1999 – an 8.5% increase on the previous year, according to NFU Mutual figures.

Sid Gibson, underwriting manager for NFU Mutual, said well-trained dogs with responsible owners posed no threat. But he was dismayed by the figures.

“This is a very worrying increase, which comes at a time when many farmers are already struggling to maintain their livelihood,” he said.

“Some owners allow their dogs to roam unchecked, or simply fail to leave them in a secure place while they are absent.”

NFU Mutual is worried that attacks could increase substantially over the Easter Holiday as more people visit the countryside.

It has warned farmers to be extra vigilant and is asking dog owners to keep their animals on leads at all times.

Dog-owners should realise that pregnant ewes are easily stressed and can die or lose lambs simply as a result of being chased, it advised.