DOG owners have been urged to pick up their pet's poo after a deadly parasite forced the culling of four cows on a Cumbrian farm.

Hannah Taylor, who runs a farm in the Eden Valley with her husband Joe, issued the plea after they were forced to cull two calves and their mothers.

Hannah published a post on social media: "Sadly, we have lost two calves in the past few weeks due to abortion.

"They have both been confirmed to be Neospora.

"This is a parasite that’s picked up from dog poo.

"It's amazing how many people have no idea about it.

"Not only have we lost two calves but the mothers also will now have to be culled.

"This is truly heartbreaking for us and many other farmers who have had the same problem.

"Please please pick up your dog poo and bin it."

The couple farm in partnership with Joe's parents, who moved there in 1970.  

They run a small, family-run mixed farm, with 80 traditional beef shorthorn cows along with 250 acres of arable land.

Joe said: "It has been a very stressful time.

"We have made the decision to test all of the cows to see what impact it has had on the rest of the herd in the coming week. 

"Not only have we lost two calves but the cows will also have to be culled, both were young healthy cows.

"We run our herd as a 'closed' herd, which means all the cows are home-bred - we don’t buy in any cows - to try and prevent diseases being introduced. 

"So to find animals with Neospora is a particularly hard blow and will it take time to breed replacement cows. 

"We have a footpath that passes through the farm which we suspect could be the source. 

"We are happy to have the footpath and like to see people enjoying the countryside, we just wish everybody would respect the responsibilities that comes with that."