Local artist Tor Allen has been helping the Quantock Hills AONB Service raise awareness of the dangers of not having your dog under close control when out in the countryside. The new poster is designed to highlight the problems and will be put up at car parks around the Quantocks.
Sheep worrying is sadly a regular problem on the Quantock Hills particularly in spring when sheep and lambs are at their most vulnerable. Quantock Rangers, local farmers and the Police would like to highlight the problems that some dogs can cause to livestock on the hills.
From 1st March - 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.
Rebekah West, Quantock AONB Ranger said "I love dogs, but I have to remember that, no matter how unlikely it may seem to their owners, dogs have a natural instinct to chase and even in some cases hunt. Sheep, lambs and wildlife can easily be disturbed if the dogs, no matter how well trained, are not under very close control".
Rebekah went on to say "Sadly there have been many times when Quantock Rangers have had to deal with the aftermath of dog attacks on sheep and in all cases I believe 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.
Artist Tor Allen has produced a series of posters for the Quantock Hills AONB that help illustrate other issues in the countryside, including vehicles illegally off-roading and litter you can find out more about her work at www.torallen.com
Georgie Grant - March 2014-->