Farmer fined £3,500 after cow with calf tramples dog walker

Farmers should avoid putting cows with calves in fields that have footpaths, says the Health and Safety Executive, after a farmer was fined more than £3,500 when his cows attacked a dog walker.

Warwickshire couple Steve and Jane Adams were on holiday in Sidbury, east Devon, when the cow went for them as they walked their dog on a lead. 

Mr Adams says he was thrown 8ft into the air, then repeatedly trampled as he and his wife crossed the field containing cows and calves, leaving him with six broken ribs and damage to his spleen and lungs.

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Farmer Barry Fowler of Sidbury, Sidmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 at Exeter Magistrates’ Court last week and was fined £555 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 .

Mr Adams said: “It was just the one cow, the biggest one. It came up and threw me into the air with its head and then it trod all over me. I was trying to crawl out of the way, but it just kept landing its hooves on me.

“The dog was on its lead and I’d managed to let it go and it made it away. My wife had one of those plastic ball throwers for the dog and she was hitting the cow with it, but it made no difference at all. I managed to roll away from under it.”

Health and Safety Executive inspector Simon Jones said that Mr Adams’ injuries were preventable: “Cattle are extremely protective of their calves and even calm cattle can become aggressive if they think the calves may, in any way, be threatened, even by members of the public walking past,” he said.

“Farmers should not place cattle with calves in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk unless appropriate measures are in place such as robust fencing separating cattle from people. Had Barry Fowler done this then the incident could not have happened.”