The UFU has urged local councils to ensure all cases of livestock worrying are taken seriously by dog wardens, and that a process is in place to deal with cases in a speedy and effective manner.
UFU beef and lamb policy chairman, Crosby Cleland said: “Dog worrying of livestock is a very serious issue for farmers. Anyone who has witnessed it will understand the suffering it causes to livestock. Where serious or fatal injuries occur this is distressing for the family whose stock and livelihood were attacked.”
On top of emotional distress farmers are left to carry the cost, and this goes beyond the loss of valuable stock.
“They are left to shoulder substantial costs including veterinary care, dead stock removal, abortions in attacked and frightened animals and damage to property,” he said.
The UFU says some of its members feel let down by the service they have received from dog wardens. Crosby said: “In some instances farmers have had to wait several days before a dog warden came to their farm, while having to deal with the risk that livestock could be attacked again. We want local councils to ensure they respond to all incidents of dog worrying immediately after they are reported.”
Crosby added that this is in the best interests of the welfare of animals. “Tackling dog worrying as a priority helps ensure an investigation has the best chance of success. It also reassures the farming community that their local council is there to provide support during what can be a very difficult time for farming families.”