Do you have a dog and live or work near cows? You'll want to know the results of this new study.
After completing a project that looked into negative interactions between cattle and the public between 1993 and 2013, researchers at the University of Liverpool made some surprising discoveries.
The goal of the study was to find out why cattle attacks on humans occur in hopes that they could identify risk factors and highlight the importance of guidance when walking among cows, but as the data was analyzed they noticed an interesting trend.
Between 1993 and 2013, there were 54 cattle attacks reported in the United Kingdom, one in four of which were fatal. What researchers weren't expecting to find, however, was that of these 54 attacks, two-thirds involved dogs.
Looking into these numbers a bit closer, they determined that one of the most common factors in these attacks was walking with a dog in an area with cows, particularly those with calves. This suggests that the cows feel threatened by the presence of the dog, especially if their young are nearby.
Unfortunately, these attacks are most often directed at the canine and it is owners who try and intervene to protect their pet that get injured or killed.
The results of this project are important for dog owners to know but that doesn't mean that every cow is going to attack if you walk by with your dog. In fact, many cows are completely comfortable around dogs.
Whenever you are walking your dog, whether it is near livestock or not, be aware of their surroundings so you are prepared if a dangerous situation presents itself. The best thing you can do if you think an attack is imminent is to let your dog off-leash. That way, they have the best chance of escaping the situation and the cow will most likely remove their focus from you.
Stay safe out there, doggies!