Tuesday, 27 December 2011
It is important to keep your dog under control at all times and to respect the countryside; but it is more important at this time of year. Ewes with lambs are very protective of thier babies and they may charge and chase your dog; ewes in lamb that panic can miscarry.
Any dog can chase sheep, strange dogs cause sheep to panic. You must, by law, have your dog under close control when walking, even if you are following a footpath. Close control does not have to mean on a lead but if you cannot rely on your dog to stay beside you or to listen to your signals then you should have it on a short lead of around one metre or 3ft long.
A farmer is within their rights to shoot any dog they percieve to be worrying animals, this does not just mean a loose dog, if your dog is on a flexi lead that is extended your dog can be counted as worrying sheep! You must also have your dog under close control during the nesting period for ground birds (1st March - 31st July)
Other rules in the Countryside Code are leaving gates and property as you find them, take nothing home but your own litter.
At this time of year the weather can be unpredicable and it starts to get dark early so be prepared, wear suitable clothing and footware, make sure your phone is charged up and have a torch with you.