Anyway who knows me will also know I love dogs and have a couple of rescue dogs.
However, I don’t trust them to fight their instincts and do as they are told in exciting circumstances, like when they see sheep or other livestock.
With recent news items of dogs over cliffs and of a lamb forced over a cliff by dogs, then we all need to acquaint ourselves with the new Countryside Code, which was updated on 1st April.
No matter how well-behaved your dog is, there are times when they need to be on a lead, literally under your control. As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to others – and, of course, to keep your dog safe.
The Code says:
Always keep dogs under control and in sight
The countryside, parks and the coast are great places to exercise your dog but you need to consider other users and wildlife.
Keep your dog under effective control to make sure it stays away from wildlife, livestock, horses and other people unless invited. You should:
- always keep your dog on a lead or in sight
- be confident your dog will return on command
- make sure your dog does not stray from the path or area where you have right of access
There is many an owner who has lost their dog over the side of a cliff thinking their dog would come when called.
Always check local signs 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.
It is good practice wherever you are to keep your dog on a lead around livestock.
On Open Access land and at the coast, 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.
Dog poo – bag it and bin it – any public waste bin will do
Always clean up your dog’s poo because it can cause illness in people, livestock and wildlife.
Never leave bags of dog poo around, even if you intend to pick them up later. Deodorised bags and containers can make bags of dog poo easier to carry. If you cannot find a public waste bin, you should take it home and use your own bin.