A CAMPAIGN urging dog owners to keep their pets on leads in the Denbighshire countryside has been launched.
The Take the Lead campaign, being managed by Denbighshire countryside services and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is in support of a regional initiative by North Wales Police to help reduce incidents of sheep worrying.
The police’s rural crime unit has already launched Operation Flock to reduce the number of incidents across the region – this aims to educate and raise awareness of the issue and encourage dog owners to think and act responsibly when they visit the countryside.
It is illegal to allow dogs to worry sheep when they are off the lead. Consequences can include a fine and a potential destruction order if the matter is taken before the courts.
The campaign will include new signage, posters and flyers and a video. Social media will also be used to send out messages to residents and visitors to the region.
David Shiel, countryside officer with the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said: “We see over 300,000 visitors coming to Moel Famau alone in a year, with many people also exploring the scenic countryside in other parts of our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“We want people to enjoy their visits to the countryside, it is very much open to everyone. However, we are concerned about dogs being let off their leads, especially on Moel Famau, but also on other countryside public footpaths across the county.
“We are concerned that dogs being allowed to roam free could increase the risk of injury to sheep, in particular around the lambing season.
“The AONB is proud of its countryside and wants everyone to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, whilst respecting the fact that they will be crossing land used for grazing purposes.
“It’s all about reminding people of their responsibility to follow the Countryside Code and to keep their dogs under control at all times.”
Denbighshire countryside service, working in partnership with the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty committee, will work with North Wales Police over the coming months to raise awareness of this issue.