Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Its summer, well it is supposed to be, and, if like me you are heading to the country either for a holiday or to see friends and are thinking of going on a country walk then you may want to take a little extra care.

I have always been a little nervous of large animals and though I have overcome my fear of horses, I still have a very healthy respect for anything with four legs which is considerably larger than I am. 

When I go and see my friends who live in the country I am almost always taken on a country walk and on the most recent occasion we encountered a herd of cows.  Now having read Animal Farm as a child I am well aware that cows are not stupid but they are big.  My wonderful friend and her dog Trotsky took command of the situation and shooed the cows away and we went safely on our way however others have not been so lucky as can be seen from this article  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2324366/Man-66-trampled-death-brother-seriously-injured-herd-cows-walking-dogs.html.

While attacks by Cows are rare, the Health and Safety Executive reports  that over 481 people have been injured by cows in the past eight years.

I love the countryside and taking Trotsky my friends Kings Charles Spaniel for a walk is a joy, but. I am aware that there is an obligation on  every dog owner  to make sure their dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people. 

Farmers are entitled by law to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals, therefore if you are taking your dog for a walk in the country for the most part you should keep your dogs on its lead at any time of the year when near farm animals but particularly during the lambing and calving season.

However, there are situation when it is not sensible to keep your dog on a lead

If you find yourself in a field of suddenly wary cattle, move away as carefully and quietly as possible, and if you feel threatened by cattle then let go of your dog’s lead and let it run free rather than try to protect it. Your dog can run faster than the cows and you

If you have wondered into a field of cattle on your own then you also need to  move away calmly, do not panic and make as little noise as possible and definitely no sudden noises. Once they realise that you don't pose a threat it is likely that the cows will just leave you alone and carrying on munching their grass
If you want to walk through a field of cows and there happen to be calves with the cows, think again if you can't go another way GO HOME.  Cows are protective of their calves and if they feel that they are threatened they can attack as can be seen from the case of Shirley McKaskie http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1197892/Woman-left-brain-damaged-following-attack-cows-wins-damages.html.

Bulls and Public Rights of Way

Farmers are aware that  it is an offence to allow a bull over 10 months old and on its own at large in a field crossed by a public right of way. It is also an offence to keep a bull of a recognised dairy breed (even if accompanied by cows/heifers) on land crossed by a public right of way.

There are exceptions to this rule and the exceptions are bulls that are not more than 10 months old, or bulls which are not of a recognised dairy breed (currently defined as Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry) and are accompanied by cows and heifers.  I don't know about you but I have no idea how to assess the age of a bull or its breed so rather than attempt to work it out I would suggest that you just walk away.

The Health and Safety Executive recommends that signs should be displayed at each access point, informing walkers that a bull is in the field and the The Countryside Code states that:
  • By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife. On most areas of open country and common land, known as 'access land' you must keep your dog on a short lead on most areas of open country and common land between 1 March and 31 July, and all year round near farm animals.
  • You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.
  • If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it.
  • Take particular care that your dog doesn’t scare sheep and lambs or wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife – eggs and young will soon die without protection from their parents.
  • Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections – so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly. Also make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people.
  • At certain times, dogs may not be allowed on some areas of access land or may need to be kept on a lead. Please follow any signs.
If despite all the above precautions you are unfortunately injured by cows then you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the person who owns the cattle under the:-

(1) Animals Act 1971
(2) Occupiers Liability Act

You can further state that the owner of the cattle was negligence.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and if it is in the country that you have a safe and peaceful experience but if unfortunately you do have a run in with a cow and need some help please don't hesitate to contact us on 0203 0053284

This article is for information purposes only 

No comments:

Post a Comment