Rangers at Cardinham Woods, near Bodmin, are calling on responsible dog owners to lead the way after a spate of livestock worrying incidents caused by four-legged companions escaping onto neighbouring farmland.
Although Forestry England has a simple ‘dog code’ asking visitors to keep their dogs in sight at all times – and on a lead if they don’t come to call – rangers have received complaints of three incidents since lambing began earlier this year.
Katy Harrison, Cardinham Woods recreation manager, said: “The forest is an incredible place for dog walking with great smells and places to paddle, but the woodland is a working landscape and is surrounded by farmland with livestock. We love seeing dogs enjoying the woods and the vast majority of dog walkers are responsible and quick to keep their pets under control.
Most of the staff at Cardinham Woods have dogs in our own families so we know that they can sometimes be unpredictable and it only takes a second for them to slip away. Our message is simple: to keep everyone safe and happy, please keep dogs in sight at all times and use a lead if you need to.”
Although dogs enjoy chasing, livestock worrying is a crime. Dogs chasing or attacking livestock cause harm and distress to both the animals and their owners. Fleeing animals can be injured, may abort their young, and might hurt the dog in their panic. Farmers can be left distressed and out of pocket, with injured animals to treat or destroy.