Ramblers Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates have joined forces to remind dog walkers to take care around cows with calves, following a number of recent incidents where walkers have been injured.
Helen Todd, Development Officer with Ramblers Scotland commented:
“At the height of summer there is nothing better for most dog owners than getting out into Scotland’s wonderful countryside for a nice walk with your dog. Summer is also the time that you’ll see cows out in the fields grazing with their young calves at foot. However, walkers need to be aware that dogs and cows with calves are not a great mix, and everyone should make sure they are aware of the dangers and how best to avoid them.”
Anne Gray, Access Officer with Scottish Land & Estates commented:
“Cattle are generally placid, if somewhat inquisitive, animals that won’t act aggressively unless provoked. However females are naturally protective of their young calves. A dog, no matter how well behaved, entering their field will be seen as a threat to the calves. The females of a herd will more than likely become agitated and chase the dog with the aim of getting it out of their field as quickly as they can. This is where problems can occur, since a dog will often run to its owner or the owner will pick up the dog to protect it. At that point the owner becomes the focus of the cows’ attention and the consequences can be very unpleasant as various recent reports of cattle attacks testify.”
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code* gives the following simple, but very good advice and Scottish Land & Estates and Ramblers Scotland would urge all dog-walkers to pay particular attention to it at this time of year.
- Don’t take your dog into fields where there are lambs, calves or other young animals;
- If you go into a field of farm animals, keep as far as possible from the animals and keep your dog on a short lead or under close control.
- If cattle react aggressively and move towards you, keep calm, let the dog go and take the shortest, safest route out of the field.
- Pick up and remove your dog’s faeces on farm land. Dog faeces can be a vector for disease which affect livestock.