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AIBU all dogs should be kept on a lead outside of specified dog walking areas

(108 Posts)
Scrowy Mon 11-Mar-19 22:30:02


I am being unreasonable.

I apologise for the deliberately inflammatory title. But this is about groundnesting birds which are in serious decline.

BUT last year we set up some wildlife cameras close to known nesting points for curlews on our farm. What we saw was the parent birds frequently being disturbed by dogs 'playing'.

Year on year curlew numbers have decreased on our farm, despite no changes in farming methods.

What has increased is dog walkers and dogs off leads. Other predator numbers are largely the same or reduced according to Natural England. We can therefore only conclude that the frequent disturbances from domestic dogs are compromising successful curlew breeding.

If you use farmland to walk your dogs please keep them on a lead during groundnesting season (1st March - 31st July). Every countryside guideline and national park also requests this, but most people ignore it.

I know it's a bit shit you can't let your dogs disappear off and enjoy themselves for a bit, but it's really not good for the environment. Feel free to do as you please during winter.

Redshoeblueshoe Mon 11-Mar-19 22:33:50

I agree with you. There was a piece on Sky news about dogs worrying sheep, I felt so sorry for the farmer's, and the 🐑

SleightOfMind Mon 11-Mar-19 22:38:34

The place we most often walk our dogs has an area where larks used to nest.
Unfortunately it’s become really popular at weekends and I don’t hear or see the larks very much anymore.
It’s very upsetting YANBU

FuckItFriday Mon 11-Mar-19 22:44:04

YANBU for the reasons you mention and a million others.

So many people seem to think the 'rights' of their mutts trump absolutely everything else though.

Backinthebox Mon 11-Mar-19 22:45:57

I live in an area which is heathland open to dog walkers. We have a local population of nightjars which are ground nesting birds. They are in decline, again due to disturbance of their nests. Last year there were only 3 males on the heath, the lowest ever. Signs are put up but are usually ignored by dog walkers who sometimes don't fully understand the damage their dogs can do even if the dog doesn't attempt to catch the birds.

On a related note, I've lost 8 domesticated birds of my own this year due to dogs being walked off their leads and coming into my garden and attacking them. We've had other larger livestock chased and attacked too. I'm losing patience with a certain type of ignorant dog owner, the ones who refuse to acknowledge their dogs are out of control.

ATailofTwoKitties Mon 11-Mar-19 22:48:28

OK, will do. I have to say it hadnt occurred to me as a specific problem - don’t think we ha s curlews here but there are larks that presumably would be easily disturbed.

How about woodlands and copses? Do many birds lurk at ground level there ?

BrambleandCuthbert Mon 11-Mar-19 22:48:29

I agree with you. We have skylarks here. I keep my dogs on the lead when we walk along the footpath through the fields where they nest. Wish everyone else did.....

ATailofTwoKitties Mon 11-Mar-19 22:48:56

Ha s = have

ADHMeeee Mon 11-Mar-19 22:49:53

Rehomed another dog today.
He won't be getting let off the lead unless his recall is good and we are somewhere appropriate.
I've come across dozens of the other type of dog owners, over the years, they really don't get any of this.

Redskyandrainbows67 Mon 11-Mar-19 22:49:58

I agree!

OrchidInTheSun Mon 11-Mar-19 22:54:37

There are signs up where I live asking people to keep out of specific areas/keep dogs on leads. As far as I know, it's helping. The birds soon learn where's safe

Chocolate35 Mon 11-Mar-19 22:55:31

I totally agree although not for the bird reason, I don’t know anything about that. But as a dog owner whose dog is shit with other dogs it drives me nuts. So many dogs are off leads I’ve had to pick him up so many times to stop him being attacked or attacking.

SomethingOnce Mon 11-Mar-19 23:02:31

Thing is, what you or I might consider to be ‘out of control’, they think is normal and desirable.

In cities, we have the type of owner who thinks that because they find it cute when the dog jumps up/licks toddler’s faces/snatches food, we all do. And, my goodness, do they react badly if you let it be known you feel differently.

However, that’s merely gross and annoying (most of the time - could be dangerous if a dog goes rogue, I guess), but ecological harm in sensitive areas is unforgivable.

Wolfiefan Mon 11-Mar-19 23:07:42

Honestly? Fields round here are generally full of crops or livestock in the summer so I avoid them. TBH I’m not even happy walking my dog there on lead. Winter is different.

sleepalldays Mon 11-Mar-19 23:25:44

I never walk my dog off lead anywhere that he's not allowed to go. A lot of the woods we walk in have what I assume are farmers fields surrounding them but they're always fenced off and I wouldn't dream of going in one anyway. It's a risk to my dog too as farmers are known for shooting dogs if they are in their farmland.

Are you talking about areas that have wildlife but dogs are allowed to go (therefore disturbing wildlife whilst being allowed to walk off lead there) or do you mean private property like farms?

dreichuplands Tue 12-Mar-19 01:27:03

I agree OP (I am a dog owner).

jemihap Tue 12-Mar-19 05:32:06

I'm sure loose dogs do disturb ground nesting birds, but it's nothing in comparison to the millions of birds (of all types) that are killed every year by domestic cats.

Parly Tue 12-Mar-19 05:39:03

Not being unreasonable at all.

I really wish we introduced dog licensing laws and regulations that meant not just any idiot can buy and keep dogs when they're barely fit to cross the road.

GemmeFatale Tue 12-Mar-19 05:51:44

I don’t have a problem with the concept of dogs being kept under control. Note that doesn’t always mean on leash as some service dogs are trained to work off lead, and more generally I find a dog on one of those extending leads or with an inattentive human at the end of the lead is more problematic then an off lead dog walking at heel or under command.

Having said that I’m not sure your statement:

What has increased is dog walkers and dogs off leads.

Is accurate.

Compared to when? What’s your source for this statement?

Personally i remember lots of dogs in my childhood being off leash in public areas. Now, despite the fact I’ve moved to an area where you’d expect to find lots of dog walkers and tourists with dogs I don’t see many uncontrolled dogs.

Obviously personal perception isn’t the same as actual data (which is why I asked for your sources), but perhaps this is more of a location specific issue? In which case we could look at why some areas seem to have bigger problems in this area, while others are seeing improvements?

Parly Tue 12-Mar-19 06:01:36

@GemmeFatale Agree with particularly re: dogs previously off-lead and roaming more often than not.

We never had ours on leads as a kid and grew up on a rough council estate where dogs just roamed free and never bit nor attacked people. Granted there was a serious dog shit issue but generally we saw much less incidents or at least that's how it seems.

In recent years though I've found more dog owners with this sense of entitlement to them and others that just don't train their dogs at all. They'll let them run loose and when they go hurtling towards another dog or whatever just yell "IT'S OK HE'S FRIENDLY!!"

We live in a very rural area at the arse end of nowhere and generally speaking don't have too many problems at all. Trouble is the problems we do have are usually devastating with sheep attacks and dogs shot dead on the rise and no mistake.

So tragic and needless sad

EffYouSeeKaye Tue 12-Mar-19 06:42:20

A good proportion of the dog walkers around here think farmland is fair game for their dogs (and in some cases, children) to run around, as long as they themselves stick to the footpaths. They either have absolutely no idea of the damage they can do to crops, birds and cattle, or they don’t care.

I agree with a pp about proper licensing and therefore control of dog ownership. I also think it could be a good idea to include an assessment you have to study for (like driving) where you learn all of this stuff before you get your dog.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 12-Mar-19 07:14:51

I don't think people realise how endangered the ground nest birds are in particular the stone curlew. My Dad was an early protector 30 years ago when population drop to 100 pairs and we had 20 of them on our farm. There are now 400 pairs an improvement, but still endangered.
I live near a large open space that massive restricts dog free areas March 1st to July 31st it works.
We need all these birds for our ecosystem to continue to work.
I appreciate the OP point about song birds and cats, but their numbers are no where near as low as those of the ground nesting birds most of which are endangered.

PrayingandHoping Tue 12-Mar-19 07:43:14

A blanket ban on all dogs on lead at all times goes too far sorry. There are breeds of dog that need to have runs off lead. However even off lead my dogs do not wander off the signed footpath and are closely under control at all times but are allowed to exhibit their natural behaviour which an on lead dog cannot do

If there are signs up saying ground nesting birds then they are on lead or I simply wouldn't walk there. The same goes with livestock (although I will add not all farmers sign when they have moved stock into a place they aren't normally surrounded by one strand electric tape that I came across a month ago! Thankfully my dogs have excellent recall and didn't even look! So responsibility does go both ways)

I tend to walk around arable land staying on the paths. Lucky where I live.

Alongwaytogo Tue 12-Mar-19 08:36:29

100% agree. Its a major problem and I don't think people realise how few of these birds we have left. And Yes cats kill millions of garden birds a year which is another problem entirely! If we aren't careful we're gonna loose a lot all because of a few selfish owners.

havingtochangeusernameagain Tue 12-Mar-19 08:39:17

I agree with you. Last week I was in my local M&S and while I was paying for my goods a man came in who obviously knew the cashier. She mentioned she'd not seen him around for a while and he said he'd come off his (motor)bike because a dog had rushed out into the road. He'd broken his collar bone and had complications.

All avoidable if the owner had kept the dog on a short lead.

Don't use the extendable ones, they are dangerous and people can trip over them.

There are breeds of dog that need to have runs off lead no they don't, if you keep up with them they don't need to be off a lead, you can put them on a canicross harness. If you can't run that fast, then don't have a dog of that breed.

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