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Sheep dog affected by wind turbine wake pressure?

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This is the most substantial report I’ve yet seen suggesting that an animal is directly affected by some aspect living near a wind turbine.   In this case, the wind farm company requested that a vet examine the dog after the owner contacted them about a dramatic behavior change in one of his working sheep dogs after nights in which the wind blew from the turbine direction.  Like many human reports, the effect occurs only in particular wind conditions; I wonder whether it’s similar to some wind farm neighbors who experience ear pressure and popping when downwind from turbines, perhaps due to air pressure differentials in the turbine wake, or due to a particularly strong physiological reaction to low frequency noise.  Many other reports of effects on farm animals have been more general, making it hard to preclude other possible causes.  Of course, as in humans, such dramatic effects appear to be relatively rare, but worthy of noticing. 

The report was originally published in the Hamilton Spectator on June 24, but doesn’t seem to be available on their website any longer.  The bulk of the article is reprinted below:

Veterinarian Dr Scott Shrive, from Hamilton Vetcare, said he examined a Kelpie working dog from a client that was quite concerned about the behaviour of the dog. “It is usually very active, alert and an excellent working dog, and it has become very withdrawn and this is more evident when wind is coming from the same direction that the wind turbines are in,” he said.

“The dog is reluctant to come out of its kennel when the wind is coming from that direction – it won’t work, they can’t get it to work, it won’t even jump up on the vehicle, but on days when there is no wind, so when the turbines aren’t working, it goes back to normal, it comes out of its kennel it is happy to work all day like it normally does.”

Dr Shrive said the owners requested him to examine the dog because they had contacted the turbine company near their property and they had requested that a vet examine this dog.
“It was brought in to me to be examined just to make sure there is no underlying disease going on that might be causing this, a middle inner ear problem or something like that. I examined it and could find no underlying disease whatsoever it was a totally healthy normal dog,” he said.

The owner of the dog, who did not want to be named, said the dog was a five-year old Kelpie female which is kenneled 1.7kms from the wind farm which commenced operation about eight months ago. “Four to five weeks after the wind farm started operation she started to show effects of abnormal behaviour, she was disobedient, wouldn’t jump up in the ute, ran sheep everywhere and that was the start of it.

“On the morning after winds from the direction of the wind farm had been going for most of the night we couldn’t even get her to come out of the kennel – she just lay on the floor and just lay there motionless. She has never behaved like this before, when she is lying on the floor of the kennel in the morning it takes nearly half an hour to coax her up, then when she gets outside she just runs mad, all over the place, it is like her brain is scrambled. She just runs crazy and then she will settle down and just be very quiet and if you take her away (from the wind farm) then she goes back to normal later on in the day.

“Since they have been turned off at night she has returned to normal. It seems to be when they go all night and the noise is just belting at her all the time,” she said. The owner said their other dogs which are kenneled 2.5kms from the wind farm are not exhibiting the same symptoms but have started barking at night. “They just bark at them all the time, all night. And they never used to bark at night, if they did my husband would go outside and tell them to be quiet and they would sit down, but now they won’t stop. It is only when the wind is blowing from the wind farm direction,” she said.

6 Responses to “Sheep dog affected by wind turbine wake pressure?”

  1. David Says:

    The full text of this article is available at National Wind Watch.

  2. aeinews Says:


  3. Marretta Corliss Says:

    Hi I am a dog trainer in Bideford , North Devon , Uk. There are plans to erect hundreds of windmills in our rural area. I have been contacted by a boarding kennels where it is intended to put up 3 huge windmills near her kennels. She has asked me what effect I think they might do to dogs in her care. I feel that they must be affected especially very sensitive dogs . In my experience dogs often go through at least 2 fear periods in their lives, the first one when they are teething and the second in adolecence and if anything happens to scare or upset them during these fear periods it can imprint on them forever. I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Best regards Marretta

  4. aeinews Says:

    Hi Maretta, I’m afraid I don’t have any informed opinion or information about how turbines might affect your friend’s kennel operation.

  5. Tracy Says:

    I have an Australian shepherd who has been exposed to low frequencies from industrial wind turbines. She is definitely not the dog she used to be, but hey let’s blame it on her age just like I did with myself….

  6. BAL Says:

    After the turbine project started up our dog started to sit in the middle of the living room and cry. It was horrible. It could be day or night. We had a lot of problems until we got moved out of the house. Sometimes they wouldn’t go outside at all or they would run out and back in. Very unusual behaviour. It affected our cats as well. The vet could not find anything wrong with the most heavily impacted dog. She ran every test possible. She knew our pets well and she was puzzled and concerned. They have since passed but we did have the one that was most badly affected autopsied and she had a large number of brain lesions. Of course we also had dirty electricity that was new after the start up. It was like living in a microwave oven.