NFU Cymru calls for greater responsibility from dog owners after sheep attack

NFU Cymru’s Livestock Board chairman has renewed the union’s call for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead around livestock, after sheep were killed and injured in a dog attack on his farm.

Wyn Evans, who farms at Tyn y Graig, near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, has lost seven ewes and a further five sheep have been injured after the incident involving two lurcher-type dogs on New Year’s Eve.

The incident is currently being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police’s Ceredigion Rural Crime Team.

NFU Cymru is urging dog owners to enjoy the countryside responsibly and to keep their pets on a lead to avoid sheep worrying or attacks on livestock.

NFU Cymru Livestock board chairman Wyn Evans said:

“While the vast majority of dog owners believe that their dog is docile and would not harm sheep or other animals, dogs can cause distress, injury and death to livestock if they are not walked responsibly, particularly when that dog is not familiar with livestock.

“I can appreciate that many people take great joy in walking their dog in Wales’ beautiful countryside. I also recognise that exercise is particularly important for people’s physical and mental health during this time of lockdown.

However, I plead with dog owners to please keep their dog on a lead around livestock to avoid distressing incidents like the one that has occurred on our farm in recent days.

“Sheep farming is more than a livelihood for our family. We have responsibility for the welfare of every animal we have on the farm.

“To see our pregnant ewes maimed and killed in this manner has been a very upsetting experience for us. It is something no farmer should have to go through.

“Please act responsibly and keep your dog on a lead when livestock are nearby.”

Advice for dog owners

NFU Cymru has a range of advice to support members in the event of a dog attacking livestock on their farm, as well as resources to help encourage dog walkers to walk their dogs responsibly on farmland.

Evans added:

It is crucial that farmers report incidents of this nature to give our police forces a true picture of the scale of the problem.

“It is similarly important that our rural police teams have the resources to respond to crimes of this nature swiftly and effectively.

“I am keen to virtually meet with Dyfed-Powys Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, to discuss how the force can better work with the farming industry to ensure those whose irresponsible actions lead to distress, injury and deaths of livestock are correctly identified and that appropriate action is taken against them,” he concluded.