Keep your dog un­der con­trol!

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

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. lanc­ or call 01772 324129. For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewil­dlifetrust.

●● Dogs should be on a lead on moor­land paths in spring

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