Dogs attacking sheep is big worry to most farmers

With the lambing season in full swing a new report has revealed that more than 80 per cent of farmers worry about dog attacks.

The survey by the National Sheep Association (NSA) of 233 farmers showed the increased stress had a knock-on effect on farmers’ family and social life.

Almost half of those questioned (46 per cent) said they had anxiety about spending time away from their farm, with 35 per cent saying this had a negative impact on their loved ones.

A total of 30 per cent said they had suffered from depression, with 24 per cent saying they had considered giving up sheep farming altogether. The single most worrying aspect of an attack was the anxiety of another attack on their flock.

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said: “Highlighting and raising awareness of this issue is a major remit for NSA, which is why we have gathered this evidence.

“In no way do we want to discourage people from getting out and enjoying the countryside, but it is vital that everyone appreciates any dog is capable of carrying out an attack on livestock if it is off the lead or left to roam unsupervised.”