The woman from the Steyr-Land district was out with two friends and a dachshund in the area of the Hohe Dirn on Thursday when the accident started at the beginning of the hike. In a fenced pasture area, which was provided with a warning sign, the 66-year-old may have come too close to one of the cows. The animal kicked the left leg of the hiker, who suffered such severe injuries to her thighs and knees that she had to be taken to the hospital in Steyr with the “Martin 3” rescue helicopter.
In the previous year, behavioral rules for hikers were drawn up in connection with a fatal cow attack in Tyrol and a subsequent compensation process. “Cows are basically not dangerous animals, but alpine pastures are not a petting zoo,” said Environment Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP) at the time when presenting the “Code of conduct for alpine visitors”. It instructs you to avoid contact with grazing cattle on alpine pastures and to remain calm.
“Avoid encountering dogs”
Above all, an encounter between suckler cows and dogs should avoid visitors to the alpine pastures. Dogs must be kept on a short leash and immediately released from a leash in the event of a foreseeable attack by a grazing animal. The trail should not be left. If grazing cattle block it, then it should be avoided as far as possible. Fences must be observed and gates closed. If cows show signs of restlessness – such as raising and lowering their heads or pawing their hooves – the grazing area should be left quickly.
According to the also new recommendation checklist for animal owners, fencing in alpine pastures is normally not necessary. In places that are particularly heavily used by tourists, however, the animal owner should consider whether fencing may be necessary for safety reasons. Aggressive animals in particular should be kept separately. After any incidents, it is recommended to divert hiking trails. Signs are to be put up at prominent places, indicating the personal responsibility of the leisure user and explaining that it is dangerous to carry dogs.
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