23rd May 2019

Are there limits to dog owners' rights to roam?

Are you aware of your rights when it comes to accessing their land with your dog? Gayle Waring, our own dog loving and countryside roaming Commercial Property Assistant has written a blog to help keep you aware of your rights and landowners rights when it comes to walking your dog to keep landowners happy and your beloved pet safe.

It's fair to say that the majority of dog owners are responsible and think about the risks of walking a dog when out in the countryside. but even they may not realise that they may be inadvertently committing offences. 

Many do not consider the temptations in front of their dog because the dog has never wandered off before and they have always come back - that is until their dog goes missing for the first time or it comes across something more tempting on the other side of the hedge.   

Rights to roam and open access open up the countryside to us all, but there are still restrictions when it comes to walking with your dog. In short:

  • If you enter a field with livestock in it, then your dog has to be on a lead at all times. The unpalatable reality is if you don’t then you run the risk of your family pet being attacked by animals protecting their young or in the extreme, even shot by the farmer (a dog does not even need to attack the livestock for this to happen).
  • On open access land from 1st March to 31st July dogs must be on a lead to protect ground nesting bird

Public footpaths often run alongside farm land, so the next time you are on a walk and your dog disappears through the hedge onto farmland which could be a habitat for wild birds in early summer ask yourself what offence you might be committing? If in doubt, keep your dog on the lead.

It is not just about sheep worrying or picking up poo, it is our responsibility as dog owners to keep within the guidelines and keep the countryside open for all. 


Gayle Waring is a Legal Assistant in Berwins' industry accredited property team

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