‘The cows began mooing and circling us…it tossed me up into the air like a matchstick’: KillerCows website for walkers to share their ‘terrifying encounters’ with livestock sees surge in popularity

EXCLUSIVE: New campaign group is aiming to raise awareness of cow attacks 'Killer Cows' is collating stories of cattle attacks and 'terrifying' close calls Stories include 'Scared for her life' and 'Martin and Margaret: Trampled by cows' Group wants legislation for all livestock farmers to have public liability insurance Have you been attacked by livestock? Email stewart.carr@mailonline.co.uk

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A website demanding new laws to protect walkers from ‘killer cows’ in the countryside has shared stories of attacks and brushes with death in harrowing detail.

‘Killer Cows’ was set up by a group of walkers who had ‘experienced aggressive behaviour by cattle’.

HAVE YOU BEEN ATTACKED BY LIVESTOCK?

Have you been attacked by livestock and want to share your story with us?

Or are you a farmer affected by this issue?

Email stewart.carr@mailonline.co.uk

The campaign is lobbying for legislation including compulsory public liability insurance for all farmers who keep livestock, cattle to be separated from walkers on National Trails and a national database of cow attacks.

Alongside its campaigning, the site is dedicated to sharing stories of ramblers attacked by cattle near farmers’ fields, with headlines including ‘Julia: scared for her life’ and ‘Martin and Margaret: Trampled by cows’.

One story describes how a woman named Julia was attacked by a herd while holidaying near Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland.

Out walking with her partner and dog on the rocky shore, she decided to walk on the path near cattle because she ‘believed that cows do not pose dangers to humans without dogs’.

She wrote: ‘The cows seemed to feel threatened by me, and began circling around me. Seeing this, and likely sensing aggression from the cows, my loyal dog escaped from his harness and ran towards me, then began growling at the cows…

‘Unfortunately, my partner and I were under the impression that the cows would be aggressive only to my dog, and not me.’

'Killer Cows' is a website set up by a group of walkers who had 'experienced aggressive behaviour by cattle'. They are lobbying for new legislation, including compulsory public liability insurance for farmers who keep livestock

‘Killer Cows’ is a website set up by a group of walkers who had ‘experienced aggressive behaviour by cattle’. They are lobbying for new legislation, including compulsory public liability insurance for farmers who keep livestock

Martin and Margaret: Trampled by cows

On May 9, we were walking on a public footpath across a field in West Burton, in the Yorkshire Dales. The footpath provides direct access into the village from a B road and from other public rights of way over adjoining fields.

It is an area we know well, and a route we’ve walked many times before. We had our dog with us on a lead.

We didn’t see the cows to start with, but when we reached the top of a slight incline we realised there were maybe eight cows in the field, which was quite small.

Two cows were grazing directly in the line of the public footpath, so we gave them as wide a birth as we could, and walked in close proximity to the perimeter wall. We kept our small dog on a short lead.

The cows – with very little warning – became extremely agitated.

We didn’t see the calves until it was too late. Suddenly, one of the cows came toward us. Then, a big brown cow got up and came charging.

MARTIN’S STORY

‘I shouted to Margaret to let go of the dog, which she did, and the dog ran away. I managed to get in front of the brown cow to protect my wife, but the cow butted me and tossed me up into the air like a matchstick. When I got up from the ground, I saw the cows were trampling Margaret. I ran at them, shouting and kicking.

‘The whole attack only lasted 20 seconds or so, but it seemed like a lifetime.’

MARGARET’S STORY 

‘The next thing I knew, I was down on the ground, and the cow was trampling on top of me. I lay on my side and managed to protect my stomach. I truly believe if I had been on my back I would have been killed. I was wearing a leather bum bag, which probably saved me from worse injury. It was completely split in two by the force of the cows’ hooves.’

INJURIES AND AFTERMATH 

Margaret was airlifted by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, where she was found to have suffered six broken ribs, a collapsed lung and, more seriously, a seven cm deep tear to her liver. She was kept in hospital for five days for observation, but luckily did not need surgery to repair her liver.

As far as we know, the cows are still in the field

After her partner got the dog back in its harness, Julia described being stalked by a lone cow as she tried to walk away.

She wrote: ‘It was only three feet away… It was jumping up and down and snorting and looked like it was about to attack at any moment. I was absolutely terrified.

‘I could sense the cow, right there, hear it panting, see it snorting at me, see the ground move under it as it jumped up and down.

‘My partner, safely through the gate, and sensing I was about to be attacked, shouted run. I was now just ten or so feet from the gate – and so I did run.

‘Thankfully I reached the gate, managing to escape my brush with intense injury or death.’

Livestock owners are liable for damages caused to property by straying livestock. Damages caused to people often depend on individual circumstances and are assessed individually by the courts, although farmers are expected to carry out risk assessments and put up appropriate signage.

Where a farmer has failed to implement reasonable safety measures, they can also be liable for prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive.

Yesterday, Mail Online reported the story of Sharon Eley, 51, she said she was ‘lucky to be alive’ after being strangled and repeatedly headbutted by a herd of rampaging cows in Lancashire.

Sharon Eley was surrounded by 20 cows as she walked her five-year old Lhasa Apso called Ralphie in May this year.

The herd was led by an agitated ‘ringleader’ which threw her to the ground twice before repeatedly headbutting her, leaving her with 15 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a dislocated and shattered ankle and a broken clavicle.

The 51-year-old was also nearly garrotted when the strap on her bag wrapped around her throat during the attack, leaving her with a ligature mark around and severe bruising.

It was only when other walkers entered the field and managed to distract the cows that the glamping business owner was able to escape. The other walkers escaped unharmed.

Ms Eley managed to drag herself to her feet before a stand-off between her and one remaining cow, which eventually backed down. She was then able to crawl to the edge of the field and haul herself over a dry-stone wall.

From there, she was rushed to hospital by a Mountain Rescue team, where she underwent two surgeries on her ankle. She returned to her home in the village of Blacko, Lancashire a month later.

She is now urging others to be aware of their surroundings when enjoying walks through the countryside.

In February, a farmer was fined £900 after his herd of cows trampled an 82-year-old pensioner to death in front of his horrified wife during a walk in the Yorkshire Dales.

Farmer Christopher Paul Sharp, 50, was also given a 12 week suspended sentence after 20 of his cattle mowed down retired teacher David Tinniswood MBE on May 30, 2020.

Mr Tinniswood had been walking his two border terriers, Bracken and Rusty, with his wife Carol when the herd ‘attacked’ them on a public pathway through Sharp’s land near the Ribblehead Viaduct in North Yorkshire.

Sharon Eley has said she is 'very lucky to be alive' after the ordeal involving around 20 cows when they attacked as she walked through the Lancashire countryside

Sharon Eley has said she is ‘very lucky to be alive’ after the ordeal involving around 20 cows when they attacked as she walked through the Lancashire countryside

She was walking in the Lancashine countryside with a pal and her dog Ralphie when the incident happened on May 22 earlier this year

She was walking in the Lancashine countryside with a pal and her dog Ralphie when the incident happened on May 22 earlier this year

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