AN ANGRY farmer has blamed the death of unborn calves on dog faeces dumped on his land.

Jonathan Cook, the co-owner of Dora’s Dairy in Purton, reported two recent cases of cows being infected by Neospora caninum, a parasite recognised as a significant cause of bovine abortion.

He said: “It’s an ongoing problem, it’s always happening. We are trying to pick up as much as we see, but it never ends. And that’s the problem, sometimes dog faeces can have a disease called Neospora caninum virus and if the cows contract that disease, they will abort.”

Mr Cook has already spent thousands of pounds to fortify his land and prevent dog walkers from leaving their pooch’s poo behind.

He said: “We have a field in Purton but people will just walk across the field, where there isn’t an official footpath.

“I put a fence up – a very ugly fence to be a stark message that there isn’t a footpath across this field.

“If the dog poos anywhere and its owners don’t pick it up, it ends up being brought back to the farm in the winter forage.”

Mr Cook has lost six calves since 2018 due to the disease.

He added: “There’s a financial cost. I have to replace them and they cost £1,800 each. There’s also a loss of milk yield.

“It’s all about good manners. I wouldn’t bring my dog into your garden, watch it poo and walk off, knowing that your kids would be playing around. That’s really bad manners, I’d expect you to shout at me.

“But people don’t seem to realise that my field is where my cows have to eat, it’s not a play park.”

Farm vet Tom Oxtoby said: “Unfortunately it’s a common cause of abortion. It happens when the cow is about to give birth. There’s no vaccination and no cure for it, so what we are trying to do is to minimise the risk.

“Neospora caninum is spread by dogs and their interaction with farms. People think that walking their dog in the fields won’t cause any harm, but cattle get infected.”