Action is being taken across the Lake District National Park to protect livestock during lambing season following tragedy in recent years.
As spring sets in farmers across the region are preparing for a challenging season for their flock, with the support of the Lake District National Park who is providing free signage for local landowners to remind dog owners to keep their dogs under close control.
The threat of dogs stressing a lambing sheep, also known as sheep worrying, is of great concern to farmers as it can lead to injury and even cause the ewe to abort the lamb, and so a call out to dog owners is being made to avoid tragedy this year.
Briony Davey, Farming Officer, said: “It’s so important that people understand why they are being asked to keep their dogs under close control at this crucial time of year. It’s a time when the National Park starts to come alive, and we would like as many people to get out and enjoy this beautiful place as possible. We just ask people to be aware of the impact they can have and please keep their dogs under close control, preferably on a lead.”
Whilst many dog owners in the region are used to taking care around livestock, some walkers are unaware that if their dog was to chase the sheep, even if they don’t attack, pregnant ewes and lambs can become distressed or stumble and fall, which can result in a tragedy.
Respected breeder, Jean Wilson from Matterdale said: “This time last year I lost a valuable Herdwick ram – worried by a stray dog. I am grateful to the Lake District National Park for showing their support to us farmers by supplying lambing signs to hopefully avoid a repeat of that horrible ordeal.”
Also in support of protecting local livestock, and the livelihood of Lake District farmers, is Cumbria Tourism who is including guidance in its upcoming ‘Dogs Love Cumbria’ guide about responsible dog ownership.
Gill Haigh, Managing Director, Cumbria Tourism said: “Dogs are very welcome visitors in Cumbria, and we know that the county is growing in popularity with dog-owners, hardly surprising given the world class walking landscape. Many of our tourism business members provide first class dog friendly facilities too. We would ask all our visitors to share our collective responsibility for protecting our world-class environment and that includes keeping dogs under close control around livestock, particularly during lambing time.”
To arrange a free ‘lambing time’ sign for your land visit www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/caringfor/farming or contact Farming Officer Briony Davey on 01539 792675.