Concern for farm animals this spring due to generation of 'pandemic pups'

  • Phil Brewster reports

Farmers in the Midlands are worried a generation of dogs raised during lockdown could harm their livestock.

Research by the National Farmers Union reveals attacks on farm animals by dogs caused almost a quarter of a million pounds damage last year.

Charles Goadby runs a farm in Ansley near Nuneaton.

"Two years ago we did have quite a nasty dog attack on our sheep. We had one killed. One seriously injured and at the time the dog was on top of another ewe attacking it viciously", he says.

Charles says some of his pedigree sheep cost in the region of £400, so an attack is financially draining too.

His story isn't unique and the NFU fears a generation of puppies bought during the pandemic who haven't been properly trained could result in more attacks.

"I appreciate it's very hard to imagine that your gentle pet at home could act aggressively but the dog is only acting on their natural instinct," says Rebecca Davidson from the NFU.

"So it's not the dog's fault. But you can do your best to prevent these attacks by being responsible as an owner", she adds.

At the Paws & Feet dog training club in Nottingham, they're doing their bit to remedy the problem. But it's something they've noticed too since classes resumed after lockdown.

"We're seeing a big increase now in puppies and dogs that are getting older and bigger. And they've not bene able to learn the basics in dog training such as loose lead walking, calling when shouted and even running up to people and jumping up" says Paul Ellis.

His partner Jackie adds: "They need to pick up the phone and phone reputable dog training centres. Contact the Kennel Club. There are lots of places where they can get information and help."

The message from trainers and farmers is clear - keep your dog on a lead, and we can all enjoy the countryside safely.