Please keep dogs on leads this half term for the safety of livestock and wildlife. This is the joint message of The Lake District National Park Authority, the National Trust and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
Jasmine Holliday, the Lake District National Park’s Farming Officer said: “We have already welcomed the first lambs of the season in the Lake District and our Herdwick, Swaledale and Rough Fell ewes are at a critical time in their pregnancies.
“It’s also a key time for ground nesting birds like lapwings, curlews and skylarks. Please, for their safety, always keep your dog under close control and on a lead near livestock. Even the most well behaved and well-trained dogs can be thrown off when they encounter livestock.”
NFU Cumbria County Chairman Ian Bowness added: “Lake District farmers are proud of what they do in the countryside and want to share it with visitors. However, it’s important we have respect on both sides.
“We’ve all heard people say their dog would never dream of chasing a sheep. But let me tell you that every dog has that instinct and to them it is just a game. 15,000 sheep are killed yearly by dog attacks. These are needless and preventable deaths which can be avoided if dogs are kept on a lead.
“All we ask is a little thought to prevent an animal suffering and loss to a hard-working farmer. Please keep your dog under control or, even better, on a lead at all times. There may be stock grazing that you can’t see. Let’s work together so sheep deaths don’t happen this half term in Cumbria.”
And Sam Stalker, Lead Ranger at the National Trust agrees with this message. He commented: “The Lake District can be a great place to visit with your dog, but it's also a farming environment home to around three million sheep and is incredibly important for wildlife, like ground nesting birds.
"Sheep worrying can have terrible consequences for farmers and dog owners, and we'd urge visitors to keep their dog on a lead and keep an eye out for important information signs on farmers' gates and fences.”
More information on the Countryside Code can be found here: https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/countryside-code