NFU Mutual is calling for visitors to the Midlands countryside this Easter to keep their dogs under control to protect new-born lambs in the region’s fields.

From its claims figures, NFU Mutual estimates that farm animals worth £242,000 were killed or injured by out-of-control dogs in the Midlands in 2021.


The leading rural insurer is worried that grown-up ‘pandemic puppies’ could cause even greater carnage this Easter if let off-lead in the countryside. Research conducted by NFU Mutual shows 73% of dog owners (up from 64% last year) now allow their pets to roam off-lead in the countryside – despite 49% admitting their dog doesn’t always come back when called.

“With many people planning an Easter trip to the countryside with dogs which aren’t used to being around sheep, we’re worried there could be a surge in attacks.

“As the weather improves for the Bank Holiday we understand people want to make the most of the countryside, however it’s crucial that this is done responsibly. While harmless at home, gentle family pets can quickly turn to their natural instincts out in the fields, leaving a trail of horrific injuries to sheep and new-born lambs.

“Owners need to be aware that it’s not just large dogs that attack sheep - even small dogs can cause deaths by chasing sheep round fields until they die from stress, or separate new-born lambs from their mothers.”

NFU Mutual Easter countryside dog walking advice:

·         Always keep dogs on the lead when walking in rural areas where livestock are kept - but let go of the lead if chased by cattle

·         Recognise that even small dogs can cause the distress, injury and death of farm animals

·         Report attacks by dogs to the police or local farmers

·         Don’t let dogs loose unsupervised in gardens near livestock fields – many attacks are caused by dogs that escape and attack sheep grazing nearby

* 1,207 UK dog owners were interviewed by PetBuzz on behalf of NFU Mutual between 23/12/2021 and 06/01/2022.