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Cleveland Police appeal for people to enjoy the countryside responsibly

We’d appeal for people to enjoy the countryside responsibly after a series of incidents across the force area, with Hutton Village near Guisborough badly affected recently.

Sadly we’ve had numerous reports of incidents where sheep and lambs have been injured or even killed by dogs allowed to run off the lead in fields in several rural areas – and recently a calf was killed by a dog in a field at Hutton village.

Earlier this month (Saturday 13th June) a group of around 20 off road motorbikes was seen in the same field riding noisily among cows and their calves and also in the woods.

This is obviously unacceptable and causes immense stress to the animals and nuisance to residents – and to other people who are out walking in rural areas.

This field sees hundreds of people walking through it every month and as well as the tragic death of the calf, the herd has only seen half the expected number of calves being born.

This is believed to be linked to bacteria and other parasites in dog faeces which have not been cleared up by owners. These, as well as stress, can cause cows to miscarry so we’d remind people to always clean up after their pet while out walking.

PC Andy Hampson said: “We want everyone to enjoy our beautiful countryside but please remember to be considerate towards those who live in and rely on our rural areas for their livelihood.”

Naomi Green, Ranger at the North York Moors National Park Authority, added: “Livestock worrying in any form can have devastating consequences for farm animals and their owners. Dog attacks on animals, especially sheep, can result in the loss of unborn lambs, serious injury and death.

“There are also serious consequences for owners of dogs who have been found worrying livestock. You may end up being sued for compensation and, in some circumstances; farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs that are endangering their sheep. We would urge everyone to keep their dogs on lead, but if you feel threatened by cattle then let go of your dog’s lead and let it run free rather than trying to protect it and endanger yourself. Lastly, if you do see any incidents of livestock worrying please report these to the police on 101.”