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Keep dogs under control on Plain
THE Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) have joined forces in the battle to stop dogs attacking cattle and sheep on Salisbury Plain.
About 150 temporary warning signs advising people how to manage their dogs around livestock will soon be seen in and around neighbouring fields on the Plain.
Some of the Ministry of Defence’s tenant farmers have already placed the leaflet-sized, bright yellow plastic NFU signs in strategic places, as DIO attempts to reduce the number of serious incidents involving cattle and sheep.
Salisbury Plain Training Area is maintained by DIO, which delivers the Training Service, supporting defence workers to live, work, train and deploy at home and overseas.
Lt Col Nigel Linge, security and access officer for DIO operations training in the south west, said: “DIO’s priority is to support our armed forces as they prepare for operations, but we also have a duty of care to the public. Control of dogs is one of our biggest challenges on Salisbury Plain.
“There have been a number of recent cases of dogs worrying livestock. We hope that these new signs will remind people of how to manage their dogs around livestock to protect their own safety and that of their animals.”
Andi Witcombe, Wiltshire County adviser for the NFU said: “Our countryside is essentially the ‘shop floor’ used to produce England’s food. When it comes to public rights of way, farmers must adhere to rules and regulations which ensure that public health and safety is paramount.
“But the public must also be mindful of potential risks and be responsible for their own and their dogs’ actions within the working countryside to ensure the safety of themselves, their dogs and grazing livestock.
“It is important that walkers and their dogs stick to designated public rights of way. Dogs must be kept under close and effective control around cows and sheep.”
Advice from The Ramblers Association says that people should try to avoid getting between cows and their calves, and be prepared for cattle to react to their presence, especially if they have a dog.
They also advise people not to hang on to their dog if they are being mobbed by cattle; but to let the animal go, allowing it to run to safety.
People should not panic or run; most cattle will stop before reaching a person.
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