A guide for responsible owners
We want everyone's visits to Trust land to be a pleasure in terms of relaxation, learning and fun. As a dog walker you are respectfully asked to remember that you and your dog share your walks with other people, dogs and grazing animals.
Dogs that are not kept under control are of real concern to Trust staff, visitors and other dog walkers. Please remember that not everyone is enthusiastic about dogs or the way they are sometimes allowed to behave - or what they may leave behind! This sets out your main responsibilities when walking a dog and advises on what we mean by effective control in everyday situations.
Without adequate care and supervision dogs can cause stress, injury and disease to the livestock that graze Trust land. They can also disturb wildlife and scare others who want to enjoy our open spaces. Avoid confrontation, but if you are confident to do so please offer a copy of our leaflet to anyone you see ignoring our pleas.
Here's how you can help:
- Your dog could cause a pregnant ewe to miscarry or a lamb to be separated from its mother before they have bonded, resulting in the mother rejecting her offspring. Whenever possible it is best to avoid going near sheep.
- Cows and horses can be frightened by dogs and may react aggressively or panic, causing damage to themselves or endangering other people and walkers and their dogs. Few people realise that large animals can be spooked into breaking through fencing. The consequences on a fast, busy road are unthinkable.
- If you take a dog into a field where livestock are grazing, keep dogs on a short lead or at heel (if you are absolutely certain of your control over the dog). Try to keep as far as possible from all stock. In some fields stock may be out of sight, so do not assume that there are no animals present just because you cannot see them.
- If cattle or horses appear to behave aggressively and move towards you, keep calm, let your dog go and take the shortest, safest route out of the field. It will be best to allow your dog to keep its distance on its own. DO NOT FEED OR PET ANY STOCK.
- Do you REALLY know your dog? The most placid, well-behaved and obedient animal can trigger the ancient instinct to chase without warning. Once running, they are very hard to call back. Whether they mean harm or not they can create big problems. Please don't take the chance.
- Dog waste can spread a variety of diseases to other animals - including to humans!
- Neospora is one recently identified disease which can affect livestock and humans. Cattle may be infected by ingesting "oocysts" shed by dogs. Cattle are 3-7 times more likely to abort if infected and will lose condition.
- Regularly worming dogs is very important for the health of all livestock and everyone's families, particularly children.
- If your dog fouls, always bag it and take it to a bin, or take it away with you. It is impossible for us to provide bins all over the estate. Any waste bin will do. DO NOT leave bags lying around or decorate trees and bushes. This is repugnant to everyone and does not constitute responsible dog walking.
Ground nesting birds
- The Box Moor Trust estate is rich in wildlife. You can help reduce the chance of dogs under your control disturbing ground-nesting birds during the breeding season (April-July) by keeping them on a short lead or close at heel when walking in the Trust's woodlands and grasslands, and keeping to pathways.
Around other visitors
- We are generally regarded as a nation of dog lovers. However, not everyone feels that way. Please remember that other people or their pets may not appreciate the attention of the dog that you are walking. Your "he only wants to be friendly" may not go down at all well with other people.
- Children can sometimes be very frightened of dogs. The Trust's Education and Community activities often mean that large groups of young children will be out and about around Trust land. Excited children and exuberant bounding dogs, especially in numbers, are not a happy mix. Clearing up after your dog is expected.
- Please look out for horse riders, cyclists and joggers who may take you and your dog by surprise.
Owing to persistent worrying and injury to grazing animals, we have had to take the unprecedented step of temporarily closing paths through the pastures. Responsible dog walking by everyone would avoid this and leave the fields available to all.
Please help us by following these few simple guidelines and let us know if you see anything you are not happy about. Thank you for being a responsible owner.
Further information for dog owners can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code and www.nationalsheep.org.uk/dog-owners/
The 'Dogs and the Box Moor Trust' leaflet can be downloaded below.