Protect wildlife - keep dogs under control in countryside

This is an archived press release

Thursday 2 April 2009

02 April 2009

Protect wildlife - keep dogs under control in countryside

Responsible dog-walkers on the moors
Peak District dog-walkers are asked to keep their pets on short leads to protect wildlife, lambs and calves while out in the countryside during the breeding season.

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

National Park field services area manager 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 until 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.

“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.

“If cattle turn on your dog, the best advice is to follow the Countryside Code - unclip the lead - don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Get out of the field as quickly as possible, then call your dog as soon as you are out of danger.”

Kennel Club communications director Caroline Kisko said: “Dog owners have a responsibility under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act to keep their dogs on a lead around wildlife between March 1 and July 31 and at any time in the vicinity of livestock.  The countryside is for all to enjoy but dog owners must be respectful of this issue when walking their dog.”

At certain times, dogs are not allowed on some areas to protect sensitive breeding sites - dog-owners should follow the signs.

To report worrying or suspicious behaviour involving dogs on farmland or moors contact the police on 0345 123 3333 or Peak District National Park rangers on 01433 670216 (weekends) or 01629 816290 (weekdays).

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This is an archived press release

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