Dog walkers encouraged to take the lead at NI Water sites
26 May 2023 16:01
NI Water is appealing to the public to take care of their dog and take the lead when visiting any of its beauty spots.
NI Water is proud to host visitors to many of these sites. However, visitors are reminded that the policy across all NI Water sites is to keep dogs on leads at all times. This is to ensure the safety of both your pets and local wildlife.
Many sites owned by NI Water, such as areas of the Mourne Mountains and the Garron Plateau, are also used by local farmers to graze livestock.
Rebecca Allen, Catchment Officer explains: “Often the presence of a dog is enough to spook a sheep and cause it to harm itself in an attempt to get to safety. If a dog is found to be worrying sheep, its owners may face a fine of up to £1000 if found guilty of the offence.
“Dogs can also worry cattle and unknowingly carry bacteria into the area, which affects cattle health. We ask that all visitors to NI Water lands follow the Countryside Code for Northern Ireland and keep dogs on leads at all times and bag and bin all dog waste. Unfortunately, in the past week there has been a tragic incident of a sheep dying as a result of a dog attack on our land, and this is just sad and unacceptable.
“Our countryside areas also provide important habitat for a diverse range of wildlife including rare breeding birds. Keeping your dog on a lead keeps our wildlife safe and your dog safe and happy too.”
NI Water thanks all our visitors who keep their dogs on leads when enjoying the countryside. Check with Dog Friendly NI for a list of dog parks suitable for off lead exercise.
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