Dog owners warned to keep pets under control as East Devon beach ban begins

Walking with a dog on a lead

Walking with a dog on a lead - Credit: Getty Images/Polka Dot RF

East Devon dog owners have been asked to keep their pets under control when walking in countryside locations to avoid ‘horrific’ livestock attacks

As a summer ban on dogs on East Devon beaches begins, owners are being warned to keep their pets under control in the countryside.

As of Wednesday (May 1), dog owners will be prohibited from taking their pooches onto East Devon beaches until September 30.

This means more and more people will be taking to the regions picturesque countryside to exercise their four-legged friends.

Many routes pass by farms and grazing land, and the National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual is asking owners to keep their dogs under control to prevent ‘horrific’ livestock attacks.

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Chris Roberts, NFU Mutual manager for the South West, said: “An unintended consequence of summer dog restrictions on beaches is that owners tend to turn to the South West’s farmland and moorlands when they can not take their pets on the beaches.

“Farmers in areas popular for dog walking are having their livelihoods threatened by repeated attacks by out-of-control dogs which are injuring and killing hundreds of sheep and lambs.

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“We’re calling for dog owners – tourists and residents alike – to keep their pets on the lead whenever there is a chance livestock could be nearby.”

Advice for dog owners:

• Always keep on the lead when walking them in rural areas where livestock are kept

• Be aware that even small lap dogs can attack and kill farm animals

• Report attacks by dogs and sightings of dogs roaming the countryside to local farmers or police

• Familiarise puppies with farm livestock from a young age to reduce the risk of them attacking sheep or cattle as adult dogs

• Do not let dogs loose in gardens adjoining livestock fields – many attacks are caused by dogs which escape and attack sheep grazing nearby

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