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Dog walkers attack warning

By SPP Reporter

Dog walkers need to be careful around livestock
Dog walkers need to be careful around livestock

DOG walkers getting out and about in Ross-shire are being warned to exercise caution — or risk potential injury.

Ramblers Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates have joined forces to remind dog walkers to take care around cows with calves following a number of recent incidents where walkers have been injured.

Helen Todd, development officer with Ramblers Scotland explained, "At the height of summer there is nothing better for most dog owners than getting out into Scotland’s wonderful countryside for a nice walk with your dog. Summer is also the time that you’ll see cows out in the fields grazing with their young calves at foot.

"However, walkers need to be aware that dogs and cows with calves are not a great mix, and everyone should make sure they are aware of the dangers and how best to avoid them."

Anne Gray, policy officer with Scottish Land and Estates commented, "Cattle are generally placid, if somewhat inquisitive, animals that won’t act aggressively unless provoked. However females are naturally protective of their young calves. A dog, no matter how well behaved, entering their field will be seen as a threat to the calves."

A few years ago attacks were reported in the Poolewe, Aultbea and Plockton areas. More recently, a walker in the Argyll area was attacked.

What the Scottish Outdoor Access Code says

• Don’t take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals; • If you go into a field of farm animals, keep as far as possible from the animals and keep your dog on a short lead or under close control.

• If cattle react aggressively and move towards you, keep calm, let the dog go and take the shortest, safest route out of the field.

• Pick up and remove your dog’s faeces on farm land. Dog faeces can be a vector for diseases which affect livestock.

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