Visitors to sites within the Clwydian Range reminded to keep dogs on leads
Dog owners are being reminded to act responsibly and keep their pets on leads when walking through the countryside.
Council officials and Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB are issuing the advice as lambing season continues
Dog owners should, of course, be keeping their pets under effective control to make sure they stay away from wildlife and livestock.
That is especially relevant this time of year, coming into lambing season.
The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs.
Sheep fleeing from dogs are often killed or seriously injured by their panicked attempts to escape.
Helen got in touch with Deeside.com asking us to remind people to keep dogs on leads around livestock.
She was walking up Moel Famau last week and saw two “cockerpoo type dogs” chasing the sheep.
“The sheep were terrified and running everywhere to escape,” Helen said.
Who will be taking their pooch for a walk this weekend? If you are visiting sites within the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley please remember to bring a lead.
Huw Rees, Denbighshire County Council Countryside Manager, said: “The vast majority of dog owners respect the countryside when walking their pets and I would like to thank them for their efforts.
“We are reminding all dog owners, including those who have a dog for the first time, to be responsible with their pets and to keep them on leads when walking through the countryside with livestock, particularly during lambing season.
“Livestock worrying, where dogs disturb and chase sheep, is illegal. Owners can be prosecuted and dogs can be legally shot in the act of worrying sheep, this is a distressing outcome we want to prevent.
“The AONB and the Council have been working with North Wales Police Rural Crime Team for a number of years to help educate dog owners on their responsibilities.
“We urge owners to please plan ahead on your visit to the countryside, respect the countryside code and always use a lead when taking your dog out for a walk.”
A recent survey commissioned by NFU Mutual revealed that 64% of dog owners are letting their pets roam free in the countryside, despite half of owners surveyed admitting their dog doesn’t always come back when called.
The cost of dog attacks on farm animals across the UK rose by over 10% to an estimated £1.3m last year.
Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual said:
“It’s a critical time in the farming calendar and there is widespread concern as we enter the peak lambing season, that there will be a surge in new visitors who are simply unaware of the countryside code or how their dog will behave around farm animals.”
“We want people to enjoy the countryside as it’s so important for people’s wellbeing.”
“It’s vital that dog owners act responsibly and keep dogs on a lead whenever there is a possibility livestock are nearby.”
Alarmingly, only 40% of the dog owners surveyed accepted that their pet could cause the injury or death of a farm animal.
Rebecca said, “Even if a dog doesn’t make physical contact, the distress and exhaustion of the chase can cause sheep to die or miscarry their lambs.”
“It’s important that owners realise that all dog breeds, not just the big, fierce looking ones, are capable of attacking livestock, or chasing them.”
A new refreshed Countryside Code has been published, 70 years since the first booklet was published in 1951.
The updated version of the Countryside Code includes clearer rules for dog walkers, It states:
Keep your dog under effective control to make sure it stays away from wildlife, livestock, horses and other people unless invited.
- always keep your dog on a lead or in sight
- be confident your dog will return on command
- make sure it does not stray from the path or area where you have right of access
Always check local signage as there are situations when you must keep your dog on a lead for all or part of the year.
Local areas may also ban dogs completely, except for assistance dogs. Signs will tell you about these local restrictions.
At the coast, you may be required to keep your dog on a lead during the bird breeding season, and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds at other times of the year.
It is good practice wherever you are to keep your dog on a lead around livestock.
On open access land, you must put your dog on a lead around livestock.
Between 1 March and 31 July, you must have your dog on a lead on open access land, even if there is no livestock on the land. These are legal requirements.
A farmer can shoot a dog that is attacking or chasing livestock. They may not be liable to compensate the dog’s owner.
Let your dog off the lead if you feel threatened by livestock or horses.
Do not risk getting hurt protecting your dog; releasing your dog will make it easier for you both to reach safety.
The Dog Walking Code can give you more information.
[Photo: Natural Resources Wales]
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