Ground nesting birds are very vulnerable at this time of year and there have been more than average attacks by dogs on livestock this year, so please be aware when walking your dog
From 1st March to the 31st July dog owners are required by law to keep their dogs on a lead when being walked across Open Access land. In all other areas of the countryside dogs should be kept under close control. It's not just the physical attacks that cause harm but simply allowing a dog to chase sheep may cause ewes to abort or become injured.
Quantock Ranger, Owen Jones is a dog owner himself and says there's nothing he enjoys more than walking over the hills with his spaniel, but has to remember that sheep, lambs and wildlife can easily be disturbed if the dogs, no matter how well trained, are not under very close control.
There have been many times when Quantock Rangers have had to deal with the aftermath of dog attacks on sheep and in all cases they could have been easily avoided - it's never easy visiting a farmer to tell them that their livestock has been injured or killed.
If your dog does kill or cause harm to livestock, you can be liable for a significant fine and for the value of the livestock harmed - your pet may also be dispatched, the cost of which will also have to be borne by you. Moreover, if your dog is actually seen in action harassing livestock it could be shot on sight.
If you actually witness an attack in progress, call 999 otherwise any incidents witnessed should be reported to the Police on 0845 456 7000 or directly to the Quantock Hills AONB Office on 01823 451884.
Georgie Grant - March 2013-->