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Keep dogs under control in countryside this spring

This is an archived press release

Friday 29 February 2008

29 February 2008

Keep dogs under control in countryside this spring

Peak District dog-walkers are asked to keep their pets on short leads on the moors and near farm animals during the breeding season from March until the end of July.

Peak District National Park rangers, rural police and the Kennel Club all remind pet-owners that by law, they must keep their dogs under control in the countryside so that they do not scare farm animals and wildlife.

Senior ranger Jenny Waller said: “We are delighted to see people walking their dogs in the countryside, but we ask them to keep their pets on short, two-metre leads during this particularly sensitive time from  March 1 to July 31.

“Sheep and lambs can be badly injured by uncontrolled dogs during the lambing season. Ground-nesting birds like curlew and lapwing, and wild creatures such as hares, are also easily  disturbed. Eggs and young soon die without the protection of their parents.

“Legally, you do not have to use a lead on public paths as long as the dog is under close control, but we ask dog-owners to be extra-vigilant in the breeding season, and always clip on the lead if you cannot rely on your dog’s obedience.

“For its own safety, never let your dog approach or chase wildlife and farm animals - your dog can get kicked, trampled or lost, and it could be shot for chasing livestock."

Cattle can be very unpredictable when protecting calves, and dog-owners have been injured protecting their pets. In the event of the dog being chased, advised Jenny: “Follow the Countryside Code - it is safer to let your dog off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Get yourself out of the field as quickly as possible, then call your dog as soon as you are out of danger.”

At certain times, dogs are not allowed on some areas of access land due to breeding sites – owners should follow the signs.

For more information on the Countryside Code, what to do and where to go in the countryside, visit www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk or www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk - click on “Paws on the Moors.”

If anyone needs to report worrying or suspicious behaviour involving dogs on farmland or moors they should contact the police on 0845 123 33 33 or Peak District National Park rangers on 01433 670216 (weekends) or 01629 816290 (weekdays).

This is an archived press release

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