Farmers throughout the region are having to contend with a significant increase in the number of dog attacks on farm animals.
Figures released by NFU Mutual Peak show the average cost of claims for farm animals killed or injured by dogs dealt with by NFU Mutual more than doubles during the first three months of the year.
And the Midlands area is the worst affected English region with an estimated cost to farming of £280,000 in 2017.
According to NFU Mutual the worst time for dog attacks on farm animals is January to April.
Worryingly, 10 per cent of dog owners don’t put dogs on leads near farm animals
Sheep with new-born lambs are especially vulnerable to attacks by dogs during spring months as they are often grazing on low-lying fields close to footpaths.
Tim Price, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said:“These attacks cause tremendous suffering to livestock and are hugely distressing for farmers and their families who have to deal with aftermath of an attack.
“Much of this heartbreak could be prevented if owners kept their dogs under control.
“We are working with police and farmers’ groups to tackle this issue and reduce the anguish and huge financial loss that dog attacks cause.”
New research by the insurer has revealed over 80 per centof dog owners exercise their pets in the countryside, with over 60 per cent letting them roam off the lead.
Shockingly, almost 7% of owners admit their pets had chased farm animals in the past and one in 10 don’t put their pets on a lead if they see a sign warning that livestock are in a nearby field.