A view of the Downs at Bepton….

This is a peaceful scene with expectant ewes grazing in the fields …. Such scenes are deceptive and hide one of the commonest of problems encountered by Sheep Farmers throughout the U.K. This farmer hasn’t been spared either.

The pandemic has brought more people out for walks and this is a good thing for the health of those involved. Many people have acquired dogs during this most challenging of years. Another good idea but with it comes with RESPONSIBILITIES. The countryside is not one gigantic dog park.

When walking your dog in the countryside certain guidelines have to be respected. Your dog needs to be under control at all times especially around livestock (which can very quickly become dead stock). If you are unable to train your dog to voice commands for recall then have it on a lead.

SHEEP WORRYING is on the rise. A number of ewes have been attacked in the area. This means the loss of a ewe for the farmer… the loss of the lambs she was carrying. It means destroyed fences and aborted lambs when ewes panic when a dog is on the rampage. The financial loss to a sheep farmer can be considerable…

Another problem on the rise is due to DOGS FOULING in fields. Dogs that are not wormed can carry parasites that then lay eggs passed out onto the pasture where they can lie dormant for months. A sheep picks up these eggs when grazing and the resulting infestation causes the meat to be rejected by the vets at the abattoirs…. Another significant loss for the farmer. Please do not allow your dogs to foul pastures even those devoid of livestock at the time. Remember these are difficult times not only for you but also for the farming community.

PLEASE BE RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS AND DO THE RIGHT THING. Do not allow your dog to worry sheep or to foul the fields. If things do go wrong do the right thing and contact the nearest farm to find out who owns the sheep. DO NOT JUST WALK AWAY.

Thank you.

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