A FARMER from Poole Keynes has appealed to dog owners in the area to pick up their pets' faeces after rising fears that the problem could lead to miscarriages in cattle herds.

Sue Timbrell, 44, has grown concerned for her own livestock after learning that dog muck contains a harmful parasite that can lead to an increased rate of abortion in cattle herds.

She told the Standard that the issue of dog fouling in Poole Keynes has grown rapidly in recent months.

“People walk their dogs on my land and the issue has always been there but recently I just cannot believe the amount of mess that is being left on the ground,” she said.

“At the moment none of our animals have been affected by the virus, thank goodness. But the possibility of it happening is always there.”

Research shows that cows with neospora, which is spread when dog muck is ingested by cattle, are 5.3 times more likely to abort in their first pregnancy and six times more likely to abort in their second pregnancy compared to negative animals.

Sue explained that dog fouling has become so common in Poole Keynes that Mill Lane is referred to by locals as Dog Mess Alley.

“It really is disgusting and just completely unsightly. It makes a bad picture for the whole area,” she said.

“It’s dangerous for humans too. A lot of people have had it left on their drives and there is a lot of it where children wait for the bus. If, for some reason, it gets in their eyes it can cause blindness.”

She said that, while more dog bins in the village would be welcome, dog owners do not use the ones that are already in place.

The issue was broadcast to a national audience last month when Cotswold farmer Adam Henson spoke about it in an episode of BBC One’s Countryfile.