News archive

December 2018

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Dog walking around estuaries

Dog walking around estuaries

Our December field trip to Red Hoylake and Red Rocks witnessed an incident near the Hoylake RNLI station.

A couple of people let loose their four dogs. They were seen running in and out of some of the thousands of birds there at about high tide (mostly Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Knot, Cormorants and Shelduck). The couple were confronted by another birder, not in our group, who shouted to them their responsibilities and the dogs were rounded up.

This behaviour now appears to be common at other estuaries in the area.

Anyone walking dogs, at high tide please do not let dogs run at and harass the roosting birds. Every time they have to fly up they are using up essential energy reserves, which can reduce their chances of enduring the winter and inhibits them from getting into breeding shape.

Thank you for being a responsible dog owner.
The countryside code states

Keep dogs under effective control
When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control. This means that you:
keep your dog on a lead, or
keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it's doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command
ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access
Special dog rules may apply in particular situations, so always look out for local signs - for example:

dogs may be banned from certain areas that people use, or there may be restrictions, byelaws or control orders limiting where they can go
the access rights that normally apply to open country and registered common land (known as 'open access' land) require dogs to be kept on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to help protect ground nesting birds, and all year round near farm animals
at the coast, there may also be some local restrictions to require dogs to be kept on a short lead during the bird breeding season, and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds during other times of year
It's always good practice (and a legal requirement on 'open access' land) to keep your dog on a lead around farm animals and horses, for your own safety and for the welfare of the animals. A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog's owner.

However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead - don't risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Your dog will be much safer if you let it run away from a farm animal in these circumstances and so will you.

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 - 'bag it and bin it'. Make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people.