Throwing Balls for Dogs
Q. Hi, I am lucky enough to have a ten plus acre field at the back of my house.The owner has no problem with dog walkers using the field to exercise our dogs. most of the residents in the ten house terrace have lived here for over thirty years and have used this field for our dogs. The problems started when a new private estate was built nearby and about one hundred new dogs gradually joined our merry band, all was well, most dogs were well behaved and well socialized, until a young couple arrived with 3 lovely king Charles spaniels who themselves are no problem, its the plastic ball launcher that's the problem, the dogs owners insist on launching balls constantly while other dogs are in the field resulting in other dogs chasing and im afraid pinching their balls the guilty dog is then called a thief a thug and dog owners told off. many of us have asked politely that they don't throw balls when other dogs are present, They have refused and said the other dogs are out of control and should be on a lead.They seem to believe that their dogs are fine running loose and the problem is with the other dogs. Some dog owners have suggested we all throw balls,, with 20 plus dogs in the field at a time this would be in my opinion Bedlam. Could you please help I know we cant go back to just our little terrace having access, and wouldn't want to, my dogs now have lots of friends and we often end up with other peoples dogs tagging along 'while one of ours disappears into the woods with their owner and we swap back later it really is lovely here can you help I don't like bad feelings and think there is plenty of room for us all I haven't bothered the fields owner as I am afraid he may stop everybody from using the field altogether then we all lose out. I would be thrilled if you could come up with an amicable solution to this problem as tempers are rising and I am afraid things may get out of control . . . sincerely yours
Mary Charlton, Ashington
Dog owners are required to keep dogs under effective control at all times. For the avoidance on doubt, The Countryside Code on the Natural England website is quite explicit about what is defined by the phrase 'Keep dogs under effective control'.
Keep dogs under effective control
When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control. This means that you:
- keep your dog on a lead, or
- keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it's doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command
- ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access
Special dog rules may apply in particular situations, so always look out for local signs - for example:
- Dogs may be banned from certain areas that people use, or there may be restrictions, byelaws or control orders limiting where they can go.
- The access rights that normally apply to open country and registered common land (known as 'Open Access' land) require dogs to be kept on a short lead between 1 March and 31 July, to help protect ground nesting birds, and all year round near farm animals.
- At the coast, there may also be some local restrictions to require dogs to be kept on a short lead during the bird breeding season, and to prevent disturbance to flocks of resting and feeding birds during other times of year.
It's always good practice (and a legal requirement on 'Open Access' land) to keep your dog on a lead around farm animals and horses, for your own safety and for the welfare of the animals. A farmer may shoot a dog which is attacking or chasing farm animals without being liable to compensate the dog's owner.
However, if cattle or horses chase you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog off the lead - don't risk getting hurt by trying to protect it. Your dog will be much safer if you let it run away from a farm animal in these circumstances and so will you.
Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections, so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly - 'bag it and bin it'. Make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other animals and people.
Hope this helps . . .