THE CLA (Country Land and Business Association) is urging dog owners and walkers in Cumbria to ensure their pets are under control around livestock and arable fields to avoid risking animal welfare and damage to crops.

The calls comes after an easing of restrictions on people’s movements, which CLA claims could potentially lead to an increase in dog owners and walkers using the countryside.

The renewed plea comes after numerous farmers have suffered abuse by walkers not sticking to footpaths, trampling on crops, and not keeping their dogs on leads around livestock.

CLA Director North Dorothy Fairburn said: “The CLA recognises the enormous benefits to the nation’s wellbeing from being out in the countryside and close to nature. It is one of the most important ‘public goods’ provided by farmers and landowners.Visitors to the countryside should maintain social distancing and not veer off sign-posted footpaths.

“We would advise owners to keep their dogs on a lead or under close control,” she added.