Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Sheep worrying warning to dog owners after rise in attacks

Ewe and lamb Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Most incidents of livestock worrying involved sheep

Dog owners have been told they could be risking farmers' livelihoods by failing to control their pets around livestock during the lambing season.

The warning from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) follows a sharp rise in reported attacks on sheep.

The Manx National Farmers' Union (MNFU) said it was "extremely concerned by the growing issue."

More than 40 separate incidents have been reported since 2015.

MNFU General Secretary Andrew Cooper said the incidents ranged from attacks on individual animals to farmers losing entire flocks.

He continued: "Losses suffered by farmers have been substantial, both in terms of emotional impact and financial costs".

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Worrying involves an uncontrolled dog or dogs running among livestock

DEFA has joined the MNFU in urging dog owners to "act responsibly" and the public to report attacks.

David Cretney MLC said: "As spring approaches, we wish to highlight the devastation and distress caused by dogs worrying livestock.

"The effects of a physical attack need no explaining, but significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field."

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