Farmers aggressive black cow attacked OAP and tried to kill his dog on path

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    A farmer has been slapped with a fine after one of a herd of cows went on a rampage, attacking an OAP and trying to kill his dog.

    Patrick Atherton and his 13-year-old Border Collie, named Lad, were walking through a field near Birdcage Farm in Ottery Saint Mary, Devon on June 12, 2022. The 70-year-old, originally from West Kirkby, Wirral, moved to the area more than three decades ago

    He and the pooch regularly walked along the public footpath. Mr Atherton explained Lad was on a lead when the animals charged at them – leaving them fearing for their lives.

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    Mr Atherton, a retired chartered surveyor said: “It was ironic that for the first time, I had kept Lad on his lead as I had noticed two young calves in the field and thought if he was walking by my side they wouldn’t really notice. Unfortunately, one black cow did and it charged at us, knocking me down by the hedge that bordered the path.

    “I tried to stand up and let Lad off his lead but they kept on knocking me over. There was about seven cows involved, but it was the very aggressive black cow that was trying to kill my dog.

    “I thought we were going to die. I was powerless to do anything. We were surrounded by cattle and I could hear Lad shrieking in pain as he was repeatedly kicked and stamped on.”

    • 'Killer cows' are UK's most dangerous animal with '4,000 attacks a year'

    The pair were only freed from the nightmare when someone – presumed to be the farmer – began shouting, prompting the animals to run back to the farm. Mr Atherton says Lad was badly injured and had to be rushed to the veterinarian.

    Adding that the pooch was never the same after the incident, and had to take medication for the rest of his life. Lad sadly passed away in September of this year.

    Mr Atherton managed to escape with only cuts and bruises. The 70-year-old retiree continued: “I just want to make other people aware of the risks when out enjoying popular footpaths such as this one.”

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    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted the farmer responsible as a result. Their investigation found that cattle with young calves, which are known to be protective and unpredictable, were being kept in a field with a public right of way across it. Meaning they posed a risk to walkers, especially to those with dogs.

    HSE inspector Simon Jones said: “It is fortunate that the injuries sustained by Mr Atherton weren’t life-threatening, however given the nature of the attack the end result could have been far worse. Public knowledge – and concern – is increasing about how dangerous cattle can be. On this occasion, Mr Atherton took the right precautions and HSE has taken action against the farmer in question.

    “Cattle are extremely protective of their calves and even calm cattle can become aggressive if they think the calves may, in any way, be threatened, even by members of the public walking past. Farmers should not place cattle with calves in fields where members of the public have a legal right to walk. Had John Hallett followed this simple rule, then this incident could have been prevented.”

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