REGULAR dog walkers are scared to take their animals out after a rise in the number of attacks by wild boar.
Forestry Commission rangers said they were aware of at least four incidents where dogs had been left seriously injured in recent weeks after meetings with boar.
It’s believed the problem stems from too many people feeding the wild animals, which makes them associate humans with food and leads to too many close encounters. Warnings have been sounded from all quarters for the practice to stop.
Dog owner Helen Szuluk, from Bream, said: “I’ve had it myself where we’ve met boar out on walks and it’s very scary.
“One of my neighbours was walking his dog only a couple of weeks ago and a boar chased the dog off, turned round and then chased him – he wound up scrambling up a tree.
“There’s been a lot of incidents lately and an awful lot of people are scared to take their dogs out now because they’re scared what might happen.”
The Forestry Commission’s wildlife manager Ian Harvey said he’s had more complaints of dog attacks this year than ever before.
His team is one third of the way through the biggest boar cull it’s ever carried out – 135 animals.
He said: “There’s a few different types of complaints.
“You get people annoyed and upset that their garden or land near them has been damaged and that’s about the same level as it usually is.
“You also get calls about people who have been chased and I think we have had a few more of them this year.
“We’ve certainly had quite a few dogs being injured – three or four quite seriously in recent months and that’s a lot more than we would usually see.”
Forest-based UK Wild Boar Trust runs its own Don’t Feed the Boar campaign and offers advice to dog owners when confronted by the animals. A spokesman said: “As soon as you spot a wild boar just turn around, recall your dog, put on the lead and walk the other way. If you happen upon a wild boar at close quarters without knowing they were there and they, in the very rare case, start to become aggressive towards your dog, drop the lead instantly as this will give your dog the chance to run away.
“Do not pick your dog up or try and shield it from the boar.”