Wiltshire

Wiltshire farmer erects fence after dog mess infects cows

Jonathan Cook
Image caption Farmer Jonathan Cook said dog walkers are not showing "good country manners"

A dairy farmer said he has been forced to erect a fence around his land because dog waste left in fields has caused the death of four unborn calves.

Jonathan Cook from Wiltshire said his grazing cows were being infected with the Neospora caninum virus.

Mr Cook has spent thousands of pounds on fences and signs in the three years he has owned the land near Swindon.

He said a minority of dog walkers displayed "a lack of respect" and did not show "good country manners".

"People hear the words 'a right to roam', but that only applies to Scotland, and this is all private land here," Mr Cook, from Purton, said.

"I wouldn't go and walk across somebody's lawn and let my dog poo on their gravel drive and walk off."

'Real financial cost'

Mr Cook said signs designed to deter walkers had been ripped down or ignored and there was a "real financial cost" to the problem.

Purton Parish Council has placed arrow signs around the area in a bid to guide walkers to public footpaths.

Councillor Ray Thomas advised walkers to "keep their dog under control, preferably on a lead at all times, and pick up after them".

In a statement, The Ramblers charity said: "We always advise our members to stay on paths when they are not walking on open access land, to keep dogs under effective control and clear up after them, and to co-operate with farmers and others working in the countryside."

The National Farmers Union also called on dog owners to pick up after their pets and to keep them away from animal food and water troughs to stop the spread of disease.

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