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A new campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the dangers of dogs off the lead.

Rural magazine Farmers Guardian has launched the drive in response to the rising number of dog attacks on livestock and horses.

The British Horse Society’s (BHS) website www.horseaccidents.org.uk has received 534 incidents relating to attacks by dogs on horses since 2010, when the site was launched.

Dog attacks are the second most reported incident on the website, behind road accidents.

A recent survey of more than 1,300 owners by Farmers Guardian found that 82% of respondents believed their dogs were under control when off the lead.

“We have started this positive campaign to highlight the need for dog owners to keep their dogs on leads round livestock and horses,” said Emma Penny, editor of Farmers Guardian.

“There are many responsible dog owners, but some who are less aware of the damage their pets can do, so we hope this campaign will help highlight the dangers and how something as simple as putting their dog on a lead can help everyone.”

The BHS is campaigning to tighten up legislation.

Last summer, H&H reported that the number of dog attacks on horses have almost doubled in the past year (news, 15 August).

“We support the campaign,” said the BHS’ Lee Hackett. “Too often we receive reports about loose dogs worrying, and sometimes attacking, horses.

“Nobody wants to prevent dogs getting a good run around off the lead, but it is essential that this only happens in safe and appropriate locations.”