An historic agreement between the Kennel Club and Forestry Commission Wales giving advice to pet owners on how to be responsible during "walkies" in the woods was signed on Tuesday July 19.
Caesar, an assistance dog from Dogs For The Disabled, and his owner Wendy Morrell witnessed the ceremony at the FC Wales pavilion - and Caesar was of course impeccably behaved.
The Welsh concordat was signed by Anthony Bosanquet, a Commissioner for the Forestry Commission in Wales, and Phil Buckley from the Kennel Club on the same day as a new leaflet, Dogs in the Countryside - also in conjunction with the Kennel Club - was launched by the Countryside Council for Wales.
The concordat, which is written in English and Welsh, is aimed at ensuring dog owners enjoy walking in forests and woodlands with their pets and also understand the needs of the forests and other users.
Thousands of dog owners exercise their pets in our woodlands every day, and the new agreement encourages them to do so while making them aware of their duties as responsible dog owners.
The agreement was the culmination of 18 months of work by the two organisations to draw up some useful advice that would encourage harmony between dog owners, land managers and other forest users.
FC Wales Visitor Services Manager Andy Fryers said, "Woods are great places to exercise dogs, but with so many other people using the woods for a variety of different activities, it's important that pet lovers understand some basic dos and donts to ensure everybody enjoys their visit to the woods.
"Our woods are great places to take up an active and healthy lifestyle and we are delighted to be working with Britain's foremost canine organisation to promote the idea of responsible woodland walkies."
Among the aims of the agreement are to:
encourage better understanding of the needs of dog owners and all
ensure dog owners feel welcome in the forest and play a part in
conserving its value for everybody,
work with others to develop new ways to improve how dogs and their
owners use the forest,
make dog owners aware of opportunities and places that are particularly
well-suited to their needs,
only seek restrictions on dogs (such as them being kept on leads or
prohibited) in specific circumstances, such as around children’s play
areas and at particularly sensitive times or places for wildlife,
accommodate dog-related sports in the forest, while balancing the needs
of all other interests,
encourage dog owners to be sensitive to other forest users, who may not
be familiar with dogs and the benefits they can bring,
help people understand and experience how dogs enhance people’s
lives, through improved health, confidence and mobility.
Among the speakers at the signing were Phil Buckley from the Kennel Club, Forestry Commissioner Anthony Bosanquet and Wendy Morrell from Dogs for the Disabled.