The National Sheep Association (NSA) is encouraging retailers, pet service providers (such as vets and rescue centres) and popular visitor sites to join together this spring to raise awareness of sheep worrying by dogs.

With cases of sheep worrying attacks by dogs continuing to rise, the NSA is preparing to launch its 2021 campaign supporting the issue, and is suggesting others play their part in tackling the problem too.

NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker, commented:

"As a farmer facing organisation it can be difficult for the NSA to reach the general public with the simple but crucial message to keep dogs on leads whenever sheep might be nearby.

"The NSA is therefore calling on those with regular contact with dog owners in the many varied areas of life to help spread this message also," he added.

“To assist with promotion of NSA’s 2021 #LeadOn campaign we ask as many public-facing organisations and companies as possible to display our newly designed, eye-catching graphics and posters.

Together a change in attitudes and reduction in this devastating problem can be achieved and the welfare of thousands of sheep that are affected each year improved.

The NSA’s plea comes ahead of the release of results from the association’s 2021 sheep farmers’ survey assessing the impact of sheep worrying by dogs on farmers across the UK during the past year.

Having received a record-breaking response to the survey, the NSA is confident results will show an increase in cases of sheep worrying by dogs over the past year as lockdown has seen an increase in dog ownership.

The concern of many UK farmers is now of the ongoing issues with dogs who may have not been able to be fully trained and socialised over the lockdown period due to Covid-19 restrictions, and the problems they could potentially cause while enjoying walks through the countryside.