Keep your dog under control!
WE’VE had a bit of a kerfuffle with dog owners this week.
After years of dogs misbehaving and leaving their mess all over a nature reserve, The Lancashire Wildlife Trust put up signs asking that dogs be kept on leads.
Oh, what an outcry it caused! Dog owners were complaining about not having any areas where their dogs could run wild because all the local parks are now insisting on dogs being under proper control of their owners.
I am owner of a terrier, who is an absolute terror in the confines of our house. However, out and about he is very wellbehaved – I let him off the lead. If we are approached by owners with dogs on a lead or dogs I do not know, Alfie is on his lead.
If we are approached by small, lively children Alfie is on the lead. Otherwise he is free to meet and greet his mates and run after a ball and sniff lots of grass... except in spring when birds are nesting.
I am ready with poo bags and I often carry them miles to find the nearest suitable bin. As I pick up his droppings, I often risk standing in that left by other dogs, so I will pick that up too.
Taking all this into consideration, I believe I am a responsible dog owner. And if I ask other dog owners to behave in the same way, I expect a reasonable response.
Yet the majority of dog owners will give a defensive response and defend the actions of their dog, which are, after all, the actions of the owner who has not trained their pooch properly.
Our main problems are dog poo, aggressive dogs, dogs attacking wildlife and angry owners.
My office is in Cuerden Valley Park, in Bamber Bridge, and over winter they lost 15 sheep, all horribly mauled by dogs.
Spring is the nesting season for animals and birds. Letting your dog off the lead to go searching through bushes, grasslands and mosses spells havoc for nesting birds and fledglings.
And it’s not just wildlife that suffers. Not only are we hearing more stories about dogs attacking children, there are also the horrific circumstances of children playing in areas of dog mess and the diseases it carries.
I do hope this column causes a backlash from some dog owners because it will prove my point. I am simply asking for people to control their dogs for the safety of other people, pets and wildlife.
If you claim to be a responsible dog owner, prove it.
To support the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, text WILD09 with the amount you want to donate to 70070. The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey. To become a member of the Trust go to the website at www. lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust. org.uk.
●● Dogs should be on a lead on moorland paths in spring