Dog ownership is a great joy, but it comes with responsibilities and sadly every year the PC hears of tragic cases that result when those responsibilities are not taken seriously. The article below from Villagetweet.co.uk summarises all the key aspects of this, but we would particularly highlight:
- Make sure that your dog is identifiable in case it gets lost. It is now a legal requirement that all dogs in public places wear a collar bearing a tag with the owners details on it, and for your dog to be microchipped with your up-to-date contact information;
- Keep your dog on a lead around livestock and during birds’ ground nesting season (1 March – 31 July). Sheep in particular get very stressed by strange dogs, especially around lambing time, and it is a criminal offence to allow your dog to ‘worry’ (i.e. chase or attack) livestock. This does not have to involve actual physical harm. Farmers are allowed to shoot dogs worrying their animals.
- Bag it and take it away to bin it! Dog poo is unpleasant at best and can cause toxocariasis in humans, which can involve serious illness including blindness. Even if you are a regular ‘bagger’ in residential areas, please do not assume that leaving dog poo uncollected is acceptable elsewhere. Dog poo in agricultural fields containing livestock can spread disease that harms the animals. Please do NOT bag poo and then leave the bag on the ground or in vegetation: collecting your dog’s poo is your responsibility, not someone else’s. The fact that there may not be a dedicated dog waste bin nearby is not a valid excuse: carrying bagged dog waste is something that all dog owners need to be able to deal with, and to dispose of it you can use any public litter bin or your own non-recycling bin. If a chronic problem arises with dog poo not being picked up in a particular area, the PC will support steps to identify the dog owner responsible and will involve Horsham District Council officers with power to impose on-the-spot fines.
Observing these basic do’s and don’ts will mean happy dog-walking in harmony with the community and the environment. Do read the full piece below for more information.