DOG owners are being asked to keep their pets under close control in the Yorkshire Dales National Park during the breeding season.
The next five months are crucial for wildlife and for farm animals alike and dogs can cause lasting damage if they are allowed to roam free, according to Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Ranger Services Manager Alan Hulme.
“The National Park is a fantastic place for dog owners to exercise their pets but the breeding season, which lasts until July 31, is a very sensitive time for domestic and wild animals as they give birth to and then raise their young.
“Although dog owners are entitled to keep them under close control but off the lead on public paths, we would ask them not to do this to reduce even further the risk of wildlife and farm animals being unintentionally disturbed at this crucial time.
“There are some simple rules under the Countryside Code that pet owners must remember.
“The most important is that, on most areas of open country and common land – known as 'access land' – you must keep your dog on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, and all year round near farm animals.”
National Park Rangers and National Park Centre staff are only too happy to give advice to anyone who is concerned about going into area that may be used as a breeding ground by wild animals.
More information about the Countryside Code can be found on the National Park website at www.yorkshiredales.org.uk.