Articles from February 2017

Increase in deaths and injuries among livestock prompts appeal to dog owners

Increase in deaths and injuries among livestock prompts appeal to dog owners

dog worryingThe public is being urged to keep dogs under control in the countryside to avoid death and serious injury to livestock and distress and loss of livelihood to farmers.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) and the Manx National Farmers’ Union (Manx NFU) are joining up to appeal to dog owners to act responsibly and the public to report attacks.

The appeal follows an increase in attacks on livestock by dogs, which have continued despite high profile prosecutions and shocking images of maimed animals being shared on social media.

Livestock worrying occurs when dogs attack or chase animals. In the case of sheep, this also extends to a dog being ‘at large’ – not on a lead or under control – near them.

David Cretney MLC, Member of DEFA with responsibility for Forestry, Amenity and Lands, said: ‘As spring approaches, we are working with the Manx NFU, with the support of the Manx SPCA and Isle of Man Constabulary, to highlight the devastation and distress caused by dogs worrying livestock.

‘The effects of a physical attack need no explaining. But significant damage can also be caused by a dog simply being present in a field. Pregnant ewes can abort lambs and lambs can be separated from their mothers, which can lead to malnutrition or death.

‘The advice to those exercising dogs in the countryside is – ensure they are under control at all times and avoid fields where livestock is grazing.

‘If passing through a field of sheep on a public footpath, keep dogs on short leads and do not allow them to bark uncontrollably.

‘If negotiating a field of cattle, walk close to the fence or hedge rather than cross the field.’

Mr Cretney said: ‘Owners who lose dogs on or near farmland should ring the dog warden without delay on 686688 (office hours) or 851672 (up to 8pm on weekdays or between 9am and 12 noon on Saturdays) and contact the farmers, who will help locate dogs to avoid incident. 

‘I’d encourage all dog owners to have those numbers stored in mobile phones.’

‘If for any reason they can’t contact the dog warden they should ring police on 631212.’

Mr Cretney concluded: ‘Farmers and those who use the countryside for recreation are urged to report all incidents of livestock worrying to police.’

Andrew Cooper, General Secretary of the Manx NFU, said: ‘We are extremely concerned by the growing issue of livestock worrying.

‘We have had more than 40 cases reported in the last two years, varying from attacks on individual animals to farmers losing entire flocks.

‘Losses suffered by farmers have been substantial, both in terms of emotional impact and financial costs.

‘Owners may not think their family pet is capable of attacking another animal and, to owners, dogs’ behaviour may seem merely playful.

‘However, it is dogs’ natural instinct to chase, so owners must keep them under proper control. 

‘In some circumstances, the law allows farmers to shoot dogs found attacking or seriously worrying livestock. They don’t like to, and fortunately it is a rare occurrence, but they take livestock welfare very seriously.’

‘See it. Snap it. Send it’ call as DEFA continues the fight against Dutch elm disease

‘See it. Snap it. Send it’ call as DEFA continues the fight against Dutch elm disease


‘See it. Snap it. Send it.’

That is the call from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) as it asks the public to help prevent the spread of deadly Dutch elm disease.

In a poster and leaflet campaign, the Department is calling on those out and about to take photos and note locations of trees they fear have the disease.

Photos can be emailed to, sent by text or WhatsApp to 07624 490713 or shared via the facebook page DEFA – Hills Forests and Glens.

Diseased trees have:

·         Wilting leaves and young shoots

·         Premature yellowing or discolouration of leaves

·         Retention of dead leaves or bare twigs and branches.

Symptoms develop rapidly, leading to the death of trees.

dutch elm

The UK lost 90% of its elms to Dutch elm disease between 1968 and 1980.

The decimation of the elm population, especially in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, altered the landscape forever.

The Isle of Man remained disease-free until 1992 but local vigilance and control measures mean that only 1% of the Island’s elms have succumbed to the disease since it arrived.

David Cretney MLC, Member of DEFA with responsibility for forestry, said: ‘The Isle of Man has arguably the most important native elm population in the British Isles and possibly Europe.

‘Elms make up around a quarter of the Island’s tree population. As with the UK, the loss of a large number of trees would alter the countryside forever and create significant risk and cost to landowners.

‘While DEFA can be proud that it has kept the disease under control, it requires constant vigilance. Every year we need to find as many diseased trees as possible.

‘We hope the public will report anything suspicious while using our beautiful countryside and ensure we can take swift action to avoid the disease spreading.

‘As so many people have mobile devices with them, the message is simple: See it, snap it, send it together with a six-figure grid reference and location and we’ll investigate,’ Mr Cretney said.

The disease has meant few elms have been planted in the Island in recent years.

With Minister Geoffrey Boot MHK, Mr Cretney today planted the first of a new disease-resistant breed of elm, Ulmus ‘New Horizon’, at DEFA headquarters at St John’s.

In conjunction with nine local authorities, eleven more trees will be planted in prominent locations around the Island.

‘Elms contribute to the character of the Manx landscape and its biodiversity value, supporting various species of lichen, fungi and insects,’ Mr Cretney said.

‘By planting disease-resistant trees in prominent locations, we hope to remind people of the unique status of the elm on our Island and encourage people to get involved in helping us fight Dutch elm disease.

Exam Success at Pinnacle!

Liam, Jon, Adriannah, Kelly and Pam

Liam, Jon, Adriannah, Kelly and Pam


The directors and staff of Pinnacle Book-keeping would like to say well done to the staff who have had exam passes recently.

**Pamela Harvey has passed her STEP Advanced Certificate in UK Tax for International Clients.


**Jonathan Shepherd has passed both the FR and TC of the Professional level of his ACA exams.

**Kelly Watterson and Adriannah Cameron have passed the next level of their ACCA exams and Liam Davies has passed his next two.

Well done and keep up the good work!