Rural vote 'may have unwanted teeth'

POLITICIANS chasing the rural vote may discover that it has unexpected teeth, says NFU Mutual.

As the general election on 7 May draws closer, the rural insurer says home owners have a "duty of care" to ensure >political canvassers are safe on their property.

Over the past two years, NFU Mutual has paid out over £1 million in claims for dogs biting visitors to rural properties.

With the general election only weeks away, it is reminding property owners that whatever their political persuasion, they have a duty of care to ensure that political canvassers are safe on their property.

The warning follows the amended Dangerous Dogs Act, which came into effect in England and Wales on 13 May 2014.

NFU rural affairs specialist Nicki Whittaker said: "Changes to the legislation mean that owners can now face prosecution if their dog bites or is aggressive towards someone while on their property."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, postal workers topped the insurer's list of people bitten while visiting homes in the countryside, with delivery drivers, guests and tradespeople following close behind.

What may surprise people, however, is that politicians face similar risks of being attacked by a dog to postal workers when out canvassing or delivering leaflets.

Ms Whittaker concluded: "Many homes in the countryside have large gardens or areas of land within the curtilage of the property.

"Unlike in urban areas, where dogs may be confined to the house between walks, rural dogs often have the run of the grounds around the property.

"This means that postal workers, delivery drivers or enthusiastic political canvassers could find themselves confronted by a dog long before they reach the front door."

"While dogs account for the majority of incidents involving visitors to rural properties, intrepid canvassers should also be prepared for grumpy geese, angry pheasants and ferocious felines in their pursuit of the countryside vote."


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