Walking Your Dog on Public Footpaths
With spring now approaching, the issues concerning walking your dog through fields with cattle need thinking about again, having made the national press last summer.
My name is David Moreton and I felt it might be helpful to set out these issues from the perspective of a local farmer.
While farmers will try and keep cows with young calves away from footpaths, some times this is not possible. This is a situation that requires caution on behalf of the dog walker.
Cattle are by nature gentle and inquisitive animals, and will rarely allow a stranger to approach closer than about five metres, before moving away.
When dogs are present an element of fear is added to the situation that may cause problems.
While it is preferable to keep your dog on a lead when walking in the countryside, it is best to release the dog if you are being ‘crowded’ by curious cattle. If you are not ‘confident’ with cattle take a walking stick, which can be used to discourage an over curious animal, but please don’t make sudden movements, as this will startle the whole group.
(you might find this link and associated links helpful)
Gates - please leave them as you find them, they are shut for a reason.
The problems created when cattle get out are substantial, in time and money.
Trampled crops, mixed up groups which then have to be sorted, young cattle which have to be given ‘wormers’ because they’ve been let onto ‘contaminated’ pasture, even getting into someone’s garden or out onto the highway.
Looking after you dogs health: Do you worm your dog regularly?
Clearing up after your dog is really important, not just for other dogs but for other animals especially cattle.
Did you know that problems like the ‘neospora’ parasite can be carried by dogs and transmitted to cattle causing abortions.
Dog ‘tape worms’ cause problems for sheep. This is a particular problem for Organic farms who can’t use routine treatments, just in case.
Enjoy the countryside, but please think of others and be responsible.
Thanks for reading .... David Moreton - local farmer.
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