The Box Moor Trust welcomes responsible dog owners.
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.
Responsibilities when walking a dog on The Box Moor Estate
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.
- 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. The image to the right shows one of the Box Moor Trust’s sheep which was sadly euthanised after being attacked by a dog.
- 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 humans and other animals.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Environmental Awareness 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.
Box Moor Trust welcomes visitors who enjoy spending time on all of the public access land it owns. We recognise that many are dog walkers.
Below are some simple ways that you can help look after this special land and the wildlife that lives here while sharing the space with other visitors. Following this code, and encouraging others to do likewise, will ensure that we all enjoy the Trust’s land.
- Keep your dog in sight at all times.
- Keep to the existing paths where possible.
- Make sure your dog has good recall, otherwise use a lead.
- Always pick up after your dog.
Several of our popular walking areas have poo bag dispensers. However, it’s always best to ensure you have your own adequate supply before setting out. Running out of poo bags can be a breach of the PSPO (see below).
- Please use the dog waste bins, or any general waste bin to dispose of poo bags.
- If there is no bin handy, please take the bag home to dispose of it in your general waste bin.
- Dog walkers have a legal responsibility to clear up after their dog. Dacorum Borough Council has a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place and all of Box Moor Trust’s land is covered by this PSPO. The Council’s enforcement officers patrol the area covered by the PSPO, including the Trust’s land, and are empowered to issue fixed penalty notices.
- Dog poo left uncollected is not just unpleasant for everyone: it damages plants, and can kill wildlife and livestock. It can also spread diseases that can affect people, dogs, and grazing animals.
- Please try to prevent your dog from disturbing wildlife.
- When in fields with any grazing animals, dogs must be kept under close control. In most cases, this means keeping them on a lead. This is an absolute must when walking in fields with sheep and/or lambs.
- Keeping dogs on paths leaves our wildlife in peace, which is particularly important during the bird breeding season from 1st March to 31st July. Many birds breed on the ground so are easily disturbed, leaving eggs or chicks exposed to the cold and predators.
- Walk no more than 4 dogs, and ensure you can manage them, at the same time.
- You should only take dogs out together if you are confident that you are able to manage them all at the same time, and are able to pick up after all of them.
- This Link will take you to the Stock Map on our website. Check it out before setting off. This will help you to enjoy your walk without encountering livestock if that is your preference.
The information below may help you choose a suitable professional walker.
- Professional Dog Walkers should be trained for the safety and welfare of the public, the walker and of course the dog. Several training courses are available. One of the most recognised courses is City & Guilds. It is advisable that you choose a properly trained Professional Dog Walker.
- Vehicles used for the transportation of your dog should be fitted out with suitable cages or other suitable means of safe containment. These must be used to protect and secure the dogs whilst being transported. It is especially important to constrain dogs when transporting 2 or more. This will help to ensure the safety of the dogs and any passengers.
- Vehicles used for the transportation of dogs must be suitably ventilated at all times. Dogs can very quickly suffer from heat stress, even on short journeys. Even short periods of heat stress can be fatal for dogs. Therefore, the transportation area of any vehicle used should be air conditioned.
- Ask how many pick ups/drop offs will be made after your dog is collected or deposited back home. How long will your dog be in the transport vehicle? Is time spent travelling to and from your home collecting/dropping off other dogs included in your dog’s walk time?
- Check and ensure that your dog walker has a policy of insuring the dogs they walk, and which your dog may share transport with, are all free from fleas and ticks, that all dogs are properly and regularly wormed, and they are regularly treated with a recognised flea and tick treatment.
- Ensure that the transportation area of the vehicle is regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- The Association of Professional Dog Walkers and Sitters (APDWS) recommends that, when walking dogs in groups, a maximum of 4 dogs should be walked. Some insurance companies have their own restrictions on numbers of dogs walked together.
- You might wish to check and ensure that your walker is covered for emergency veterinary cover should your dog require urgent medical attention.
- It is a legal requirement that, when walking in a public place, every dog must wear a collar with a tag/disc with the owner’s contact details on it. Every dog must have a lead/leash, carried by the person walking the dog.
- Make sure that your dog walker gets to meet your dog in its home environment. Ideally the dog walker should take the dog for a walk with you alongside. This will help them assess the dog’s temperament and discipline. It also gives you an opportunity to assess if the walker is suitable for your dog.
- Ensure that you make the walker aware of any allergies or ailments your dog may have. Ask what sort of treats they use – are they suitable for your dog?
- It is advisable that all professional dog walkers complete a canine first aid course, and that they carry an appropriately equipped first aid kit.
- Ask to see, and read, the dog walker’s public liability insurance documents. Remember, if the walker is not insured, or, is in breach of any conditions imposed by the insurance company, you may end up with a hefty bill to pay.
- You may also want to seek assurance that the walker’s vehicle insurance covers business use.
- Commercial Dog Walkers must have the express permission of owners of land over which your dog is to be walked. Walking your dog over land from which they, or the Professional Walker, are excluded may invalidate their insurance. Do you know where your dog will be taken?
- A Public Spaces Protection Order(PSPO) is in force and covers the whole of Dacorum Borough Council’s area. It is important that your walker is conversant with the restrictions and conditions imposed by the PSPO. Dacorum Borough Council’s Enforcement officers patrol Box Moor Trust’s land. They are empowered to issue fixed penalty notices for any infringements of the PSPO.
For further information on choosing a professional dog walker, you may wish to visit the following websites;