After the death of a dog walker in England last month, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Scottish Land & Estates, and NFU Scotland are advising dog walkers to avoid fields where there are cows and young calves grazing. Cattle may see dogs as a threat and react aggressively, or panic when they have dependent young calves. The three organisations advise: Donâ€™t take a dog into a field where there are calves, lambs and other young animals. Walk through a neighbouring field or on the land next to it. In more open country, keep your dog on a short lead if young livestock are around, and keep your distance well away from them.
If you find yourself in a field with livestock and young, make your way out by the shortest route to avoid getting closer to the animals. Avoid coming between a cow from her calf, or scaring livestock into running away. If cattle show signs of being aggressive, keep calm, let go of your dog and take the shortest, safest route out of the field. The survival chances for humans and dogs are far better if the dog is let go to escape on its own. Make sure that your dog does not chase or worry livestock by keeping it on a short (two metres or less) lead or close at heel (which means close at heel and obedient to your commands.) People and dogs are at risk, but so are livestock. Dogs may harm livestock by distressing them. A dog could cause injury by, for example, chasing cattle, which could then damage and break through fences. For more information on this issue see outdooraccess-scotland.com