Cameron Farquharson is gathering a wealth of support for Gladis’s Law, Protecting livestock, informing dog owners: a campaign for a change in law to make it mandatory to keep dogs on a lead when walking near livestock. “We want to educate dog owners about the importance of using a lead.”
Yesterday Cameron received the 2021 Sheep worrying by dogs survey from The National Sheep Association. He shared the following on social media:
“I am currently sat reading through it and the causes of the livestock incidents jumped out at me. People could select multiple answers.
70% selected that the cause was not putting their dog(s)on a lead.
66% believed that their dog(s) won’t attack livestock or won’t do damage if they do.
49% Was down to a lack of regard or concern on the issue.
39% had assumed their dog(s) would respond to commands off the lead.
47% was down to allowing dog(s) to roam unaccompanied or escaped from gardens or kennels.
5% Worrying on purpose/linked to poaching.
The NSA then asked farmers what was the outcome of them asking people to put their dogs on lead. Again people could select multiple answers.
51% reported receiving Verbal abuse.
48% were ignored by the dog owner.
21% received Intimidation by the dog owner.
16% Other (no understanding, land ownership).
15% Polite refusal to use a lead.
8% Retribution (vandalism).
3% received physical abuse.
I will post more once I’ve read and understood. But I think we can all agree that the statistics from this survey are shocking. We need to change things for the better.”
Gladis’s Law, Protecting livestock, informing dog owners.
To keep up to date on the Gladis’s Law Facebook page – Click HERE.
Cameron Farquharson’s cow Gladismade the national news last week, sadly for tragic reasons. Her death has highlighted the need for farmers to have more say in taking care of their livestock in dealing with dogs off their leads.
When Cameron announced the very sad news on Facebook the following day, he begged, as all our local farmers repeatedly do to “please please please adhere to the notice on the gate and KEEP YOUR DOGS ON A LEAD!” He added ” We cannot afford in financial terms and for mine and my children’s mental well-being to continuously deal with these distressing losses.” His post was shared over 10,000 times and made the BBC news.
Cameron and his family, who run Redlands Coppice, are now working with a group of farmers, farming related businesses and an MP to bring about a change in the law to give livestock more protection which they are calling Gladis’s Law. They are trying to make contact with as many local farmers, smallholders holders and general livestock owners who have experienced dog attacks or worrying on their livestock in order to collate as much evidence of the problem as possible. Gladis’s Law would make it an offence for dogs to be off lead on farm land or land with animals grazing.
Sign up to be kept up to date of their progress on Gladis’s Law HERE.
Please message/submit your evidence through Facebook to: Cameron Farquharson HERE or Rachel Hayball HERE at your earliest convenience. Thank you.
Cameron’s family were “overwhelmed by the kindness shown” to them, as a family…. “so many we are not able to respond personally to each individual person as we would like. We have made this short video to introduce you to our hairy coos and say a personal thank you.“
Gladis died on 27th May on Eggardon Hill when dogs (reportedly Labradors) chased her to death killing both her and her full term unborn calf. R.I.P. Gladis x
Dorset Police Rural Crime Team also released a two and a half minute video on Facebook on Saturday about putting dogs on a lead which you can view HERE.
If you are a farmer needing livestock worrying signage, please send their team an email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the best name and address to send to and the quantity that’s required. Maximum of 4 signs per address.
Cameron has now launched a special Facebook page HERE to gather support.
All last week walkers have been reporting padlocked gates at Lewesdon hill and one has already been vandalised.
Farmer, Tim Frampton explained: “Every year gates are left open letting cattle & sheep out which ruins our crops of silage. The locking of one gate on the footpath is only until the silage has been taken off.” There will soon be a directional arrow to the one kissing gate in the corner of the field.
His brother, Andrew commented: “Two kissing gates are right beside the existing field gates and the other one is 50 yards to the left in the corner against the hedge. The grass is now starting to grow and cattle are in the neighbouring field – it’s a tiny re route to prevent what happens every year, several times without fail!” He continued, “The Dorset footpath officer installed the gates for us and now just waiting for official signage from them“.
This is also at a time when young calves, sheep and lambs are grazing and are easily spooked. Dog walkers are again reminded to keep their dogs on leads through these fields. Last week, farmer Rachel Hayball issued a plea re: lambing season after losing a lamb early last month. Not restricted to Springtime, farmer, Jo Stover had her sheep attacked by dogs last November. Dorset Police signs were put up last week.
Senior Ranger for the West & Coast, Russell Goff when asked, was unaware of the changes made to the footpaths and at the time of publishing has yet to respond further. However, the post will be edited to include them, should he provide any comment or information.
Broadwindsor’s councillor, Dorothy Rowe is the ‘Rights Of Way and Liaison Officer‘, colloquially known as the Footpaths Officer. She has worked with Russell Goff, Senior Ranger on a number of footpath issues over the past three years. Cllr. Rowe, who has over time posted numerous notices up on footpath gates asking walkers to pick up after their dogs and respect the countryside, had spoken with Andrew Frampton and also walked up to Lewesden to look at the gates:
“There is now a clear sign by the locked gate indicating the site of the kissing gate 50 yds to the left. I understand that the footpath will be re routed to the kissing gate in the near future, I believe at the expense of the landowner.”
Wanting to share some of the issues around footpaths with people generally, Dorothy continued, “I think we are extremely lucky to have so many footpaths in this part of the world and such beautiful countryside. I don’t think that most people are aware that the designated space for a public footpath is a one metre width right of way across private land. It is appreciated that whilst dogs are able to be let off the lead and will inevitably wander off the path (where no livestock are in the fields) they must be kept under control. That means no throwing sticks , balls etc for dogs to chase. And all dog mess picked up immediately and taken away. Extra bins have been provided for this purpose on the way to and from Lewesden. The areas either side of the footpath are private and not a public park, are managed by the land owners for grazing and planting of crops, and this must be respected.”
For reporting footpath & bridleway problems to Dorset Council – Click HERE.
To report the problem by locating it on a map – Click HERE
Alternatively you can report problems by telephoning Dorset Council on 01305 2211000
Signposting and waymarking
Dorset Council has a duty to signpost public rights of way where they leave a metalled road. Rights of way are also signposted or waymarked particularly where the route is not obvious.
Stiles and gates
It is the landowner’s responsibility to maintain stiles or gates on public rights of way on their land. Dorset Council usually contributes a minimum of 25% of costs.
It is an offence to intentionally obstruct a public right of way. An electric fence across a right of way is an obstruction, regardless of whether the current is live or not. Electric fences alongside a right of way should be adequately signed and give plenty of width to ensure there is no danger of users coming into contact with the electric fence.
Ploughing and cropping
Crossfield paths may be ploughed or cropped as long as the path is reinstated within 14 days. Headland paths should not be ploughed or cropped.
A dog related Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) across the Dorset Council area came into force on January 1st 2021. Read moreHERE.
Prompted by a lost dog plea (which was subsequently found), local farmer, Rachel Hayball of Speckets Knapp Lamb posted her plea on social media, on behalf of all farmers dealing with their new lambs at this time –
“This is not aimed at anyone. Please do not take offence. I am so glad that today’s missing dog is back safe and sound.
Many of us [farmers] are getting very worried by the number of dogs going missing around Pilsdon and Lewesdon hill. Areas where dogs should be on lead due to sheep grazing on and near the hills.
Obviously, no one ever intends to lose their dog. But it happens. Dogs can get disorientated when following a scent, they can see something and give chase. Or they can just lose sight of you.
Once they are lost and away from you, who knows what they get up to?
Even the best trained dogs in the world can become over aroused and start chasing and even attacking sheep. They may go up to sheep just being inquisitive and the sheep, being sheep, will run away. This is often enough to get a dog to chase.
A sheep doesn’t have to be attacked to die. Just being chased can cause them to drop dead from shock. They can also abort their lambs…
Newborn lambs also have no chance to get away from a dog.
Please, please keep your dogs on lead on and around Lewesdon Hill and Pilsdon Pen. We [Farmers] shouldn’t have to constantly worry about our livestock potentially being at risk and your dogs need to be kept safe too.
I am a dog lover. I spent years working with dogs. My dogs are well trained and guess what – they stay on lead unless we are in a secure area.
Local farmers, Neil & Rachel Hayball at Speckets Knapp Lamb have their sheep graze between Broadwindsor and Pilsdon pen.
Tragically yesterday, an out of control dog killed a 10 month old lamb that they have been nurturing along with the rest of the flock since birth.
An angry Rachel posted the picture of the dead lamb on social media stating “THIS is what happens when you fail to keep your dog on lead or secure within your property. . . . Before anyone asks whether I am sure it was a dog – yes I am. I’ve just found dog foot prints and the injuries to the lamb are consistent with a dog attack.”
Rachel continued “Please be aware that if we catch a dog in with our sheep and we can’t get hold of it it WILL be shot as per UK law.“
Dorset Police have been informed and anyone with any information is requested to use the Crime Ref. number: 10-646
The Law –
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence. The Act considers sheep worrying to include: attacking sheep. chasing them in a way that may cause injury, suffering, abortion or loss of produce.
Farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep. Farmers cannot shoot dogs simply due to trespassing. If they do, they could be prosecuted in a civil action by the owner. Farmers will need to prove they shot the dog as the only way possible or last resort to protect livestock. Farmers cannot shoot dogs that have permission to be on the farmland.