Mansfield and Ashfield dog walkers urged to keep pets on leads to protect ground-nesting birds
Dog walkers from Mansfield and Ashfield are being urged to keep their dogs on short leads to help ground-nesting birds this spring and summer
The call has come from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which says whether you are visiting moorland, fields, urban parks or the beach, there can be birds nesting on the ground – or just above it – that can be hard to see and are at risk of trampling, disturbance and harm.
The law says you must keep your dog on a lead no longer than two metres between March 1 and July 31 when on any open access land to protect ground-nesting birds.
The trust is asking people to follow the same approach when visiting nature reserves – and preferably all year round.
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John Rattray, from the trust, said: “Dogs off leads can be a real issue for nesting birds on our nature reserves, especially at sites where most of the grassland habitat is narrow strips alongside paths – such as at our much loved Attenborough Nature Reserve.
"When dogs wander off the path into the grassland or reedbeds closer to the water’s edge, they are unwittingly disturbing birds as they go.”
James Brittain-McVey, lead guitarist of The Vamps, dog owner and ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “I’ve learnt, as a rescue dog owner, the importance of keeping your dog under control at all times.
"And at this time of year, it’s especially important to remember that we can all play our part in helping birds breed successfully by keeping dogs on short leads in wild places – especially when so many species are having such a hard time.”
Mr Rattray said: “Our nature reserves are for wildlife and people and many visitors want to bring their dogs.
"Many of our team, myself included, have dogs, so we understand the pleasure that a walk with your furry friend can bring, but allowing dogs to run loose on nature reserves can be devastating for wildlife, particularly in spring when species are breeding and vulnerable.
"We’re asking dog walkers to be sensitive by keeping their pets on a short lead, sticking to paths, and properly disposing of dog poo.
"Wildlife is already under enormous pressure – let’s all keep dogs on leads so as not to make things worse.”