Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Dogs - Scottish Outdoor Access Code

The other day I discovered a ducks nest along the riverside. I would say that the mild weather is now conducive for many ducks to nest. Spring is a wonderful time for Nature to get the sap rising in all living things, this includes dogs and their owners taking them outdoors !

With this in mind, I would like to remind dog owners of their responsibilities under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/out-and-about/recreation-activities/dog-walking/ . A Local resident river walker remarked to me the other day, just how many dog walkers go along the river now on a daily basis, he said he had never seen so many dogs. I must say I have to agree with him, perhaps the new maggot flats has increased the problem as I mentioned last year. There seems to be a mini explosion in multiple dog ownership too, which is worrying when some of these owners seem to have scant regard for the natural world around them !

In addition to the dog poop problem, some owners seem oblivious to the fact that Half of Scotlands birds are ground nesting, and spring is the most important time to keep their dogs under close control around other wildlife that are trying to nest ! The following is advice from Scottish Natural heritage : GROUND-NESTING BIRDS: During the breeding season (April - July) keep your dog on a short lead or under close control in areas such as Moorland, grasslands, loch shores, and the seashore to avoid disturbing birds that nest on the ground ...this includes the riverside!

I know from experience and other Swan Sanctuaries,( http://www.fairford.org/SwanAid/swan_rescues.htm ) the horrendous toll that dogs can have on Swans and other waterbirds. Earlier today I saw 2 women walking along the riverside with their spaniel hunting along the riverbank , totally unconcerned about what the dog was doing. As always, I blame the owners and not the dogs. Courting popularity with dog owners as I do - be prepared for a lambasting if I see your dog running around out of control and disturbing the wildlife. I make no apology for again publishing the photo of Penny, after she was attacked by a black labrador- (soft things wouldn't hurt a fly ) ...famous last words. Hunting types, and water dogs in particular should be kept well under control !

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