Owners asked to keep dogs on lead

A landowners’ organisation wants dog owners to keep their animals either under strict control or on leads while on walks in the countryside.

The call from the Kentford-based Country Landowners’ Association (CLA East) comes in the midst of the lambing season, when pregnant ewes can abort if they become stressed by loose dogs. Birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife are also at risk, with their young vulnerable if parents are scared away.

CLA members in the eastern region have recently reported dogs being off leads and out of control on their land, disturbing farm animals and wildlife. Stories include horses and foals being injured after being hounded inside and outside their paddocks, and damage being caused to areas where conservation work is taking place.

CLA East regional surveyor Tim Woodward said: “The CLA’s members go out of their way to welcome walkers who adhere to the Countryside Code. Most people are very understanding and walk with their dogs on leads near livestock – but there are some who do not even consider doing this.”