The following guidelines should be followed by all dog owners living or visiting farmland areas to ensure that they continue to play a crucial role in making them a safer place for all to enjoy.
· Please observe and respect local signage and leave dogs at home if accessing land where livestock are present or close by. Some landowners forbid dogs entirely, whereas others including the state, may request the use of leads.
· In situations outside of the home, dog owners must legally ensure that their dogs are under ‘effectual’ control at all times. Attacks on sheep can result in financial losses to the farmer, for which the dog owner can be held liable.
· The presence of dogs, even with playful intent, can cause great anxiety within a flock of sheep. During the winter months this can prevent ewes from coming into season. In lambing season it is the main cause of stillbirths and miscarriages, which can occur 2-3 days after contact with dogs.
· Please respect and be aware of wildlife as the presence of dogs can disturb ground-nesting birds and other animals during the breeding season.
· Know where your dogs are at all times – attacks often occur at night
· Report wandering dogs and suspicious sights to your local authorities.
· Make sure that your dog(s) are registered and microchipped and that a current licence is in place for each of them – this is now a legal requirement for ALL dogs.
· Dog fouling is the responsibility of the owner. Please collect and dispose of all faeces in an appropriate manner – this includes plastic bags used in the process. Failure to clean up is a public health concern and is an offence under section 22 of the Litter Pollution Acts.