A Dorset farmer believes one of her cows was the victim of a dog chase - after finding it caught up in a fence dead.

Alison Johnson, who owns a 250-acre farm in north Dorset, said she has seen a number of her livestock attacked by dogs over the past 10 years, leaving them dead or seriously injured.

When she discovered the nearly two-year-old Aberdeen Angus cross, she believed it had suffered the same fate.

Mrs Johnson said: "The cow was lying upside down and was still warm, so he had only been chased in the previous couple of hours.

"The likelihood is that the steer had been chased down the hill, lost its footing and rolled into the fence at the bottom getting his rear leg caught."

After freeing the cow from the fence and moving it from the field, she alerted the police and reported the attack to the local rural crime officer, also informing her local NFU Mutual Agent who helped support the family in the aftermath of the incident.

An NFU survey has recently revealed that the south west is the second worst English region for dog attacks on livestock, discovering that of over 1,100 dog owners who took part, 64 per cent admitted their dogs chase animals, with almost half saying their dog is not capable of injuring or killing livestock.

The latest estimates are based on claims data from NFU Mutual and show that south west farm animals worth £273,429 were severely injured or killed by dogs in 2022.

Another incident that has stuck with Mrs Johnson one of her sheep having its ear bitten off by a dog - fortunately it survived and is still part of the flock today.

Mrs Johnson said: “In my experience, appeals to pet owners to keep their animals under control are often ignored.

"Most people just don't see what the problem is and usually say their dog would never do something like that,"she said.

"The general public do not take it seriously when asked to control their dogs, they don't understand this is our livelihood and the financial and mental impact this has."

Phoebe Ridley, from NFU Mutual South West, said: “It’s clear that a significant number of dog owners are blinded by their love for their pets and believe that they would never chase, attack or kill livestock.

“We’ve heard reports from farmers that dog walkers are becoming more distracted, often on their mobile phones with their pets out of sight, and seemingly unaware of the carnage their dog could cause.”