Think you know the Forest? Livestock safety campaign challenges dog owners

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New Forest livestock
The campaign poster challenges people who might think they know how animals will react to their dogs

DOGS must be kept a safe distance from New Forest livestock – that’s the warning to owners sounded by the Commoners’ Defence Association following a spate of nasty incidents.

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The organisation has revealed a new poster which tells dog owners their pets must give cows, horses and pigs “lots of space” and avoid getting in between animals and their young.

It also instructs them to release their dog if ponies or cattle approach them so both can get to safety, and they should phone police if they spot “livestock worrying”.

The move comes in the wake of Hampshire police’s Country Watch team releasing a poster warning dog owners they face being prosecuted under the Protection of Livestock Act 1953 if they allow their pets to worry livestock, an offence for which they could be fined and ordered to pay compensation.

That poster also stated: “All suspicious people and vehicles are reported directly to the police. Dogs used in offences may be seized.”

New Forest cow attack
A cow on the New Forest (Photo: stock image)

During the past few months there have been a spate of incidents locally in which dogs have targeted livestock.

As reported in the A&T in June last year, a two-day-old foal had to be given round-the-clock care to save its life after it was viciously savaged by a dog.

A month later a herd of cows were reportedly slaughtered after attacking and injuring a dog walker, and killing his pet.

There have been repeated warnings dog owners must keep their animals under control and in October the CDA wrote to more than 200 people who owned cattle on the Forest and advised them to de-horn their livestock.

At the time, CDA chairman Tony Hockley said it would be stepping up its campaign for better signage on appropriate behaviour around livestock, particularly the close control of dogs and enforcement of laws and byelaws.

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