So far this year 20 sheep and lambs have been killed by dogs roaming free on land around Ogden Water.
Ogden Water is a country park and local nature reserve set around a reservoir that has been supplying the people of Halifax with drinking water for over 150 years. Ogden Water is owned by Yorkshire Water but managed by Calderdale Council. More than 300,000 visitors enjoy the beautiful scenery at Ogden each year.
Many of these visitors come to Ogden to exercise their dogs and whilst the vast majority of owners are responsible, some do let their dogs off their leads during their visit.
When confronted with sheep and other livestock these pets turn into hunters which chase and worry livestock, sheep in particular. Attacks by pet dogs have led to horrific injuries and the death of 20 sheep.
One dog, believed to be a Rhodesian Ridgeback and Great Dane cross, chased the whole flock of sheep resulting in thirty ewes miscarrying their lambs. The sheep are terrified and die a horrible, often slow and painful death.
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence.
Alastair Harvey, Recreation Advisor at Yorkshire Water said: “We welcome visitors to our land but we ask that everyone acts responsibly and with consideration to other users. If you bring a dog to Ogden please keep it on a lead and respect those that make a living from the land over which you will walk and follow the Country Code at all times.”
Irresponsible dog ownership causes another problem at Yorkshire Water’s recreational sites. Last year the company paid approximately £10,000 to keep paths, picnic sites and car parks clean of the dog mess so they are safe for walkers, visitors, employees and contractors to use.
Alastair added: “Again, we’re only talking to the minority of dog owners but please clean up after your dog should it foul to protect those that work at this site and reduce the transfer of diseases to humans and livestock. Please dispose of the poo bags correctly, either in the nearest bin or by taking it home to dispose of in your own household bins.”