Yorkshire Water has urged dog owners to keep their pets on leads whilst on their land.
Lambing season is now well underway and last year more than 20 sheep and lambs were killed by dogs roaming free on land around Ogden Water in Halifax.
The whole flock of sheep were chased by one dog which resulted in thirty ewes miscarrying their lambs.
When confronted with sheep and other livestock, these usually loving family pets turn into hunters which chase, worry and savage livestock, sheep in particular.
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; “Visitors are welcome but we ask that everyone acts responsibly and with consideration to others. Many visitors use our land to exercise their dogs and whilst the vast majority of owners are responsible some do let their dogs off their leads during their visit.
“If you exercise your dog on our land please keep it on a lead and respect those that make a living from the land over which you 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.
Mr Harvey 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.”
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