FARMERS have warned that new lambs are at a high risk of being attacked by a ‘pandemic generation’ of poorly -trained dogs this Easter.

The Notional Farmers’ Union of England and Wales is calling for Easter countryside visitors to keep their dogs under control to protect new-born lambs in North East fields.

NFU has estimated that farm animals worth £95,000 were killed or injured by out-of-control dogs on farms in the North East in 2021.

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The leading rural insurer is now worried that grown up “pandemic generation” puppies could cause even greater carnage this Easter if let off the lead in the countryside.

Research conducted by NFU Mutual shows that 73% of dog owners – up from 64% last year – now allow their pets to roam off-lead in the countryside, despite 49% admitting that their dog doesn’t always come back when called.

Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said she was “worried             there could be a surge in attacks.”

She added: “With Easter falling late this year, most lambs on the North East’s farms have been born and are highly vulnerable to dog attacks – so we’re asking owners to keep their pets on the lead whenever livestock could be nearby.

“With many people planning an Easter trip to the countryside with dogs which aren’t used to being around sheep, we’re worried there could be a surge in attacks.”

Ms Davidson added that although she understands people “want to make the most of the countryside” it is “crucial that this is done responsibly.”

She added: “While harmless at home, gentle family pets can quickly turn to their natural instincts out in the fields, leaving a trail of horrific injuries to sheep and new-born lambs.

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“Owners need to be aware that it’s not just large dogs that attack sheep - even small dogs can cause deaths by chasing sheep round fields until they die from stress, or separate new-born lambs from their mothers.”


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