Wise words for walkies

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 03/04/2013
Buster takes the lead - photo - Sarah Taylor

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

Watch our amusing video here on BMC TV


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