WHERE there are walkers there are often dogs, which means that with over a million acres of open access in Wales that’s a lot of dogs on the loose.

The Welsh government is considering opening up even more of the countryside to walkers but sheep farmers are naturally worried that these walkers will bring Fido too.

Sheep worrying can be devastating and sadly too many dog-walkers are ignorant of this. Allowing a dog to roam free near sheep is antisocial at the very least and they risk getting their dog shot.

When sheep get worried they do silly things like vault fences and end up in places where they shouldn’t be.

I own a dog and know only too well that it is in a dog’s nature to bare its teeth and chase other animals. Whilst trained collies are still an important tool for sheep management on Welsh farms, unruly dogs only cause havoc.

Cases of sheep worrying aren’t always reported to the police but anecdotally the problem seems to be getting worse. This could be because more people are venturing into the countryside to exercise their right to roam.

Farmers are reluctant to shoot a dog that is endangering their sheep or cattle but the law dictates that they can.

Sheep are naturally nervous creatures and it doesn’t take much to worry them, particularly if they are pregnant or have lambs.

A dog, no matter how small and seemingly harmless, is a predator. Sheep recognise this, therefore any dog has the potential to worry sheep.

Responsible dog owners should keep their dogs away from livestock at all times, no matter what the size or breed.