Quarter of dog attack costs in Wales


Plaid Cymru’s Rural Affairs Spokespeople in the Welsh Assembly and UK Parliament have backed a campaign urging dog owners to keep their pets under control as the cost of dog attacks on livestock more than doubled in Wales last year.

Wales accounted for a quarter of the cost of livestock attacks in the UK in 2018 – the only UK nation to see a rise in the cost of such attacks.

It estimates that the total cost of livestock worrying to the UK farming industry exceeded £1.2m last year. In Wales there was a huge rise in the cost of attacks in 2018, resulting in a massive 113 per cent increase. The estimated total cost to Welsh agriculture was £285,000 last year.

Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru’s agriculture spokesperson in Westminster said: “Most dog owners are responsible, but a small minority allow their dogs to run free and cause havoc on farms. The cost of dog attacks for this year is particularly disturbing given that England, Scotland, and the North of Ireland saw a decrease while in Wales we have seen attacks doubling. Clearly, then, this is a real problem that must be tackled.

“Too many sheep are being killed and horribly mutilated. I support calls by police forces and farming unions for the Welsh Government to amend the 1953 Dogs Act to assist in tackling this problem."

Llyr Gruffydd Plaid Cymru’s shadow rural affairs spokesperson at the Welsh Assembly said:  “For small upland farmers in particular, livestock worrying is devastating because it has a huge impact on their productivity. While insurance can cover the cost of replacing stock killed and the treatment of injured animals, there is a knock-on effect on breeding programmes that can take years to overcome.”

With many families expected to visit the Welsh countryside over the coming spring and summer months, both called on dog owners to keep their pets on a lead at all times in the countryside and for people to report out-of-control dogs to a local farmer or the police.

The two Plaid Cymru politicians have written to the Welsh and UK Governments urging them to come together to reform, amend or replace the existing Act with a view to reducing the amount of dog attacks on livestock.

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