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Your dog mess is killing our calves: farm’s plea to dog owners
A farm has urged pet owners to act responsibly after losing two of its unborn calves to a parasite spread through canine faeces.
Clare Lees, of Post Green Farm, Lytchett Minster, told the Daily Echo the unborn Longhorn calves miscarried after contracting Neospora caninum, which has also been reported in two pedigree cattle at Kingston Lacy.
Neospora can spread to cattle through eggs in dog faeces. While the meat is still perfectly safe to eat, the parasite causes miscarriages and infertility in the herd.
Mrs Lees is eager for dog owners to clean up after their pets when walking them in the vicinity of her farm.
“We’ve always accepted the fact that when you live between Lytchett Minister and Lytchett Matravers people are going to come and walk their dogs,” she said.
“We rather tend to turn a bit of a blind eye and let it happen.
“We’re not the sort of people who like going around the place shouting: ‘Get off our land’ but we’ve just had two calves die of this illness which is in all probability carried by dogs.
“We just want people to be responsible and realise there is a risk if they don’t pick up after their dogs.”
Mrs Lees believes the cattle became infected as they grazed at Race Farm Common, off Huntick Road, Lytchett Matravers. She added: “What we are saying is please be responsible and remember there is a cost to cattle and the farmer.”
The Lees have 250 Longhorn and Angus beef cattle.
Meanwhile, two of Kingston Lacy’s 52 Red Devon Cattle also tested positive for Neospora.
National Trust head ranger Peter Sampson said: “Our dog bins do already get well used but it only needs one or two owners to not pick up after their pets to put decades of work in caring for this herd at risk.”