LANDOWNERS are appealing for dog owners to keep close control of their animals while out and about over the holiday period.
Defra recently reported that walking with a dog accounted for 1.51 billion visits to the English countryside in 2014–2015, half of the total amount made by the public.
As 2015 draws to a close, the Country Land and Business Association is urging dog walkers to follow the Dog Walking Code to ensure that incidents of damage and on-farm accidents involving dogs are kept to a minimum as people use their free time over the holiday to enjoy walks with their pets.
The CLA’s regional director, Dorothy Fairburn said: “Country walks are a festive tradition but can cause irreparable harm through thoughtless behaviour. Getting out and enjoying the countryside over Christmas is a good thing, but it is vital that dog owners understand their responsibilities when walking their dogs on farms.
“That means knowing where it is permitted to walk, keeping dogs under close control at all times - and on leads around livestock - and cleaning up after them.
“Sheep and livestock worrying by dogs can have a disastrous effect for farmers. Dogs disturbing or chasing wildlife can also both harm the animals and jeopardise conservation schemes.”