OWNERS of dogs are being asked to ensure their pets are on leads as the animal breeding season gets underway.
Conservationists working for the Peak District National Park Authority are urging Ashbourne’s dog walkers to be considerate through spring and early summer, which are critical times for farmers with young livestock and wild creatures such as birds and small mammals.
The authority’s wader recovery project officer Tara Challoner said: “Spring and early summer are critical times especially for breeding birds.
“They need to be undisturbed to give them the best chance of laying a good number of eggs and raising as many chicks as they can.
“Birds like lapwing and snipe used to be a common sight in the countryside but they are in decline nationally.
“We aim to reverse this trend through the Peak District Wader Recovery Project and are working with farmers to safeguard bird breeding grounds.
“Dog-walkers can help protect the birds by keeping their dogs on a short lead on farmland and moorland.”
Dog owners have a responsibility under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act to keep their dogs on a lead around wildlife between March 1 and July 31 and at any time near farm animals.
To report incidents involving dogs on farmland or moors call the police on 101 and then notify the Peak District National Park Authority on 01629 816572 at weekends or 01629 816290 in the mid-week.