When visiting the countryside, dog owners need to keep their canine companions under effective control at all times but especially during the breeding season, so that they do not scare farm animals, birds and wildlife. Take the lead and follow the Countryside Code.
The Countryside Code states that:
By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare farm animals or wildlife. On most areas of open country and common land, known as 'access land' you must keep your dog on a short lead on most areas of open country and common land between 1 March and 31 July, and all year round near farm animals.
You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.
If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it.
Take particular care that your dog doesn’t scare sheep and lambs or wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife – eggs and young will soon die without protection from their parents.
Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections – so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly. Also make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people.
At certain times, dogs may not be allowed on some areas of access land or may need to be kept on a lead. Please follow any signs.
Find out more:
Doggie dos and don’ts
Taking care around cows
Hill skills: How to take your dog walking
Specialist advice about dogs on moorland is available on www.pawsonthemoors.org
The Countryside Code applies to all parts of the countryside. Most of it is just good common sense, designed to help us all to respect, protect and enjoy our countryside.
Read the Countryside Code
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The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
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