THE National Trust today issued a seasonal reminder to dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead on ‘open access’ land.

Lambing is a crucial time of year for farmers but out-of-control dogs are increasingly responsible for livestock losses.

In Cumbra in 2013, there were 113 incidents of dogs worrying livestock: 69 incidents of dogs attacking livestock and 44 incidents of dogs killing livestock.

Insurance company NFU Mutual estimates the cost of dog worrying to UK farming at £1.2 million in 2013.

The Countryside Code sets out dog owners’ responsibilities around livestock and ground-nesting birds. On open access land they have to be kept on short leads from March 1 to July 31.

Mike Innerdale, Assistant Director of Operations for the National Trust in the North West said: “Many people look forward to getting outdoors at Easter, but as landlord to 90 tenant farms in the Lake District, we know the devastating impact that sheep worrying can have on a farm’s livelihood. By keeping your dog on a lead, you can be sure that you’re protecting livestock and helping to keep the countryside special.’