The NFU has joined forces with The Kennel Club to make countryside dog walks safer and more stress free for both pet dogs and farm animals, by creating new footpath signs which encourage responsible dog ownership.
The signs, which farmers can display on fences and gateposts, have been launched today (Friday) at the world’s biggest dog event, Crufts. This marks a new partnership with The Kennel Club that aims to help dog owners enjoy the UK’s landscapes while avoiding causing unintentional injury or distress to sheep and cattle.
The signs reinforce the year-round need to keep dogs on leads around livestock and emphasise that it is safer to release a dog if threatened by inquisitive cattle, so that walkers and dogs can get to safety separately.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe, a sheep farmer from Leicestershire, said: “The NFU is delighted to partner with The Kennel Club for the first time to encourage responsible dog walking in the countryside. These signs are designed to provide guidance and inform the public of the risks and dangers of walking their pets across farmland.
“Now spring is here we tend to see an increase in the number of people out walking their dogs. But it’s important to remember that farms are working environments so please be aware of your surroundings.
“The advice is, if you have a dog with you keep it close by your side and under control. Where there are cows and sheep put it on a short lead. Remember, cows are inquisitive and may come to investigate, if you feel threatened walk calmly towards the field boundary and release your dog so you can both get to safety separately.”
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: “Government figures show that dogs are taken on half of all countryside visits, and in the vast majority of cases these walks are problem free for dog owners and farmers alike.
“It is important for dog owners to be aware of the need to put their dog on a lead at certain times and to always pick up their dog’s waste on farmland, to make sure that everyone can continue enjoying the countryside safely.
“We are proud to be working with the NFU on this new partnership, which will help walkers in the countryside make good choices about what they can do with their dogs and we are looking forward to the new signage being well used.”
With thanks to, NFU Mutual.
The NFU is the voice of British farming and provides professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members.