It is well know that dogs and cattle do not mix well. The cattle, are protective and inquisitive when dogs come near. A very sad event happened in April when cattle surrounded a lady walking her dog towards Luton road. The lady and dog were trampled by cattle. The local farmers and a passing cyclist came to the lady’s assistance. Ambulance staff took the lady to hospital, although a passing air ambulance also stopped. I am told that she is now recovering from her injuries at home. The dog was taken to a vet and did not survive. The farmer was distraught.
As result of this sad incident the paths from Luton road and Fancott to Conger Lane (TOD52 & TOD53) were formally closed temporarily. The paths are now open again. After discussion between the farmer and Central Bedfordshire Council rights of way staff, to minimise the risk of a similar occurrence, it has been agreed to:
- Put a fence along the side of the TOD53 path, so that the cattle are kept in the fields to the north of the paths,
- agree temporary diversion from the legal line so that walkers and cattle will be kept separate, and
- graze the field nearest Luton road with sheep.
Livestock guidance for landowners from Central Bedfordshire Council. There is advice for walkers from the Ramblers below:
- Stop, look and listen on entering a field. Look out for any animals and watch how they are behaving, particularly bulls or cows with calves
- Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves
- Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
- Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd
- Keep your dog close, on a short lead, and under effective control
- Remember to close gates behind you when walking through fields containing livestock
- Report any frightening incidents or attacks to the landowner, the highway authority, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and also the police if it’s of a serious nature
- Don’t hang onto your dog if you are threatened by cattle – let it go as the cattle will chase the dog and not you
- Don’t put yourself at risk by walking close to cattle
- Don’t panic or run – most cattle will stop before they reach you; if they follow just walk on quietly