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Dog owners called to action

A new campaign to help stimulate responsible enjoyment of the countryside by dog owners is being launched on the opening day of Crufts by Chris Packham, the well-known wildlife expert, author and photographer. The campaign is being backed by the Countryside Agency, the Kennel Club and English Nature.

Chris, a dog owner himself says: “I am only too aware of the problems that uncontrolled dogs can bring to the countryside and wildlife. The dog leaflet, which is part of the campaign, is a particularly good idea. It provides a good common sense approach to enjoying the outdoors with your dog, which everybody will find useful.”

New research commissioned by The Countryside Agency shows that 28% of regular visitors to the countryside are accompanied by a dog and with the ongoing roll-out of Open Access land across England, the opportunities for dog owners to enjoy the countryside with their best friend are on the increase.

“Dog walkers make an important contribution to the vitality of our countryside but, sadly, all too often they are treated as an unwelcome group,” said Abigail Townsend, the Countryside Code Canine Campaign co-ordinator. “Following some simple do’s and don’ts will make the countryside experience more positive for dog owners and their dogs as well as helping to respect, protect and enjoy it themselves. Providing dog owners with constructive and helpful advice will help achieve this by encouraging harmony between dog owners, other users of the countryside and the wildlife living there.”

The campaign, which is part of the ongoing Countryside Code communications programme, is supported by dog wormer Panacur ®. The leaflet, which signals the beginning of the campaign, has useful tips on all aspects of owning a dog. These include:

Useful sources of information for the dog owner;

What to do in an emergency and some tips on first aid for dogs;

Where to walk your dog safely and responsibly, whether it’s in open country, public path or other areas;

The importance of regular worming and vaccination;

How best to travel with your dog;

How you and your dog can stay healthy and have fun together.

Andy Brown, Chief Executive of English Nature says: “English Nature want as many people as possible to take the chance to experience and understand our wonderful countryside and we welcome them to our own Spotlight National Nature Reserves. This campaign gives dog owners a great opportunity to find out more about how they can enjoy the countryside with their dog, whilst helping to protect the wildlife that lives there and ensuring it can continue to flourish.”