Farmer Sanctioned After Cattle Stamp On Dog Walker

In mid-March 2023 industry regulator the Health and Safety Executive handed down its decision through the medium of the Magistrates Court sitting in Exeter to make an example of a farming specialist after he seemingly lost control of some cattle under his control, a collision occurred and which resulted in serious injuries being inflicted on a member of the public. The authorities took a dim view and imposed a substantial monetary sanction.

Just Another Day?...

Walking the dog is by all accounts supposed to be a pursuit for all intents and purposes one which is pleasurable, happy, and an overall pleasant pursuit. However, a recent case outlines how precarious the pastime can be. The case appears on facts and circumstances of the case center around a person going about their respective day-to-day activities and seems to have been walking their pooch in the south of England. Whilst the person was busy exercising their animal companion matters took a turn for the worse when the person appears to have collided with cattle in the vicinity of the dog walking location. The matter became more serious when a cow stood on the person carrying out the dog walking activities on numerous occasions whilst the person was attempting to make his escape. The extent of the injuries sustained to the dog walker only materialized at a later time and the cattle caused fractures to half a dozen ribs and harm to important organs such as his spleen and lungs. When the case meandered its way to the Magistrates sitting in Exeter the person performing his role as a farming professional was handed down a financial sanction and was ordered to pay costs in the amount in excess of three thousand pounds.  

What Happened In The Case?

The case involved a dog walker who emanated from the county of Warwickshire and was on vacation with his spouse. The couple had decided to take a trip to the south of England in Devon and whilst they were walking in the area the couple decided to take Shank’s pony accompanied by the Spaniel. During their trip, the couple proceeded along a trail and proceeded through cattlefields and their young in them. However, matters deteriorated rapidly when the dog walker and his wife somehow found themselves at the mercy of a large group of cattle. One cow approached the male dog walker and knocked him in the air causing him the aforementioned injuries. The cow then stamped on the dog-walker. Luckily he was able to make a quick getaway before sustaining any further harm. 

What Did The Health and Safety Executive Say?

Commenting on the case enforcement arm the HSE commented that the farmer should have identified the risks associated with dealing with cattle and their young. It described their potential behavior as difficult to foresee and likely to risk harm to persons walking canine companions.     

Lessons Learned? 

Those responsible for land with public rights of way with cattle positioned on it should be reading this case with increasing levels of interest. In this regard, they need to be following the guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive and take the following action including but not limited to: 

  • ensuring cattle is enclosed in fields that are inaccessible to members of the public
  • take extra care where young animals are in close proximity
  • inspect the barriers to see if they are the required safety standard
  • verify if walkways are communicating to members of the public that it may be unwise to walk in such fields and
  • examine fences and cattle daily for risks of animal sickness and temperament.  

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