In recent weeks, there have been reports of cows chasing and trampling members of the public.

The Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team is advising walkers to take care around cattle.

Advice issued from the National Farmers Union includes staying calm, and only keeping dogs on a lead until the situation is threatening.

The union says cattle, especially young stock, are inquisitive and will often follow walkers, but with calves around this may become an issue.

Do not panic if you are followed. Walk calmly and quickly away from the herd.

If you are walking with your dog on a footpath and find that there are cows on the path, do not attempt to go straight through them.

Instead, take a wide detour and walk calmly with your dog on a lead.

Never walk between a cow and her calf.

If cows move towards you and you feel threatened, release your dog from the lead. Cows are more likely to chase dogs rather than their owners, and dogs generally run faster than cattle. Walk quickly but calmly to safety.

Farmers will not put cattle that are considered to be dangerous in fields accessible to the public, and will put signage up to warn the public of possible dangers.

They also install segregation fencing near public footpaths.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), between March 2000 and March 2021, cattle have killed 98 people in the UK; 22 of these were members of the public and the rest were farmers or farm workers.

PC Emily Thomas at the Rural Crime Team said: “We don’t have a huge problem with cattle incidents in Wiltshire, but we do wish to make people aware of the possible dangers and help keep them safe.

"Most members of the public who are involved in incidents with cattle were on footpaths and usually had a dog with them, frequently there were calves involved and the cows were protecting them.

"Although we advise to keep dogs on a lead when there is livestock around, it is best to release your dog if it is being threatened by cows. Cattle are more likely to chase the dog rather than the owner.”

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