Dog walkers warned after animals bother livestock

Derbyshire Constabulary

Derbyshire Constabulary

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Dog walkers are urged to be responsible in the Amber Valley countryside after complaints by farmers in the rural area, and a number of sheep being attacked.

Police said there have been numerous calls from around the Heage, Belper, Holbrook and Duffield area over the past few months, and at least three incidents of sheep being injured since March, with the latest reported incident taking place on Wednesday, May 4 at a farm near Milford.

Signs are being put up in the area advising people to keep their dogs on a lead and under control.

PC Andrea Smith of the local Safer Neighbourhood policing team said: “We are really urging dog walkers to adopt a sensible approach when out walking in the countryside and hope that these signs will act as a reminder.

“By law you must control your dog so that it does not disturb farm animals or wildlife and on most areas of open country and common land you must keep your dog on a short lead when near to farm animals.”

Dog walkers are advised under the Countryside Code to remember the following guidance:

- Control your dog so that it does not scare or disturb farm animals or wildlife.

- When using open country and common land, you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July - and all year round near farm animals - and you may not be able to take your dog at all on some areas or at some times.

- You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.

- Take particular care that your dog doesn't scare sheep and lambs, or wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other wildlife.

- If livestock chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt trying to protect it.

- Dog fouling is unpleasant and can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and dispose of it responsibly.

PC Smith added: “We want dog walkers to continue to enjoy the countryside, and if you respect these rules you will help keep the local wildlife, lambs, calves and your own dog safe.”

The Kennel Club offers advice on the countryside code for dog walkers, visit www.thekennelclub, or for the full code visit www.gov.uk.